Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Editorials

Secret Service apology not enough with so much at stake

U.S. Secret Service Director Mark J. Sullivan is either deluding himself or is obfuscating — and neither is acceptable for the top protector of the U.S. president. And that's why it's particularly important that on Wednesday, the acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security promised to independently investigate the conduct of Secret Service agents who, while preparing for a presidential visit to Cartagena, Colombia, last month, drank heavily and engaged the services of prostitutes. The American people have every right to expect that those charged with providing security for the president and other government dignitaries meet the highest standards of professional and personal conduct.

Appearing before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sullivan offered an obligatory apology for the conduct of at least 12 Secret Service agents who barhopped and picked up prostitutes. Six agents have been fired, while the others face various forms of disciplinary action. But the apology does not go far enough. Sullivan continues to insist that the Cartagena bacchanal does not represent a systemic pattern of agents behaving badly.

But Cartagena is not the first time in the past decade that agents have found themselves embroiled in accusations of improper sexual conduct, as senators recalled Wednesday. And with Sullivan seemingly unwilling to accept there may be a broader problem, it will be up to an independent investigator to get to the truth in an agency tasked with keeping the president safe. The tawdry Cartagena episode could have compromised the president's safekeeping as well as broader national security concerns.

No doubt most of the agency's 7,000 employees are loyal and dedicated public servants who respect the Secret Service's challenging and honorable mission. And they should understand more than most why it's so important to root out how some of the nation's most trusted government employees exercised such incredibly poor judgment.

Comments
Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17