IB Times - If former Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman becomes the new director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency will be run by one of America’s most outspoken supporters of mass surveillance. Lieberman has called for aggressive measures to crack down on government leaks, has tried to weaken whistleblower laws and has supported legislation that critics say would punish journalists. As FBI chief, he would be in a position to act on President Donald Trump’s reported desire to jail journalists who publish leaks of classified information.
In December 2010, for instance, Lieberman successfully pressured Amazon.com and the data visualization site Tableau to stop publishing charts that included materials believed to have originally been posted by WikiLeaks. His move was criticized by transparency groups as an affront to the First Amendment.
In 2009, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, he joined with ranking member Susan Collins in pushing a bill that would weaken protections for whistleblowers in the FBI. One whistleblower advocacy group published a letter saying the legislation “will set whistleblower protections back 30 years for hundreds of thousands of federal employees.”
After voting for the 2001 Patriot Act, which originally expanded government surveillance powers after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he joined Republicans in supporting a measure to reauthorize the law in 2009.
He was one of 17 Democrats who joined Republicans in voting in favor of an amendment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act giving the U.S. authority to monitor the calls and emails of Americans communicating with people outside of the country without a warrant.