Joe Lieberman for FBI director? Is this a joke?
It’s obvious why he reportedly is President Donald Trump’s leading candidate for the post. The NYC law firm where Lieberman is now senior counsel represented Trump on the restructuring of his Atlantic City casino debt and his lawsuit against the author of a Trump biography.
He supports Trump policies, including voiding the Iran nuclear deal, and the controversial appointments of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
But those are not the main reasons why Lieberman would be a disaster as director. He’s a professional pol who is 75 — he’d be 85 if he completes the 10-year term running one of the country’s most demanding agencies. The FBI also needs someone with a strong law enforcement background to rein in the nation’s most formidable — and frightening — governmental agency. His six years as Connecticut’s attorney general in the 1980s doesn’t cut it.
I don’t say the nation’s “most formidable — and frightening — governmental agency” loosely. Its ousted head, James Comey, is arguably responsible for upending Hillary Clinton’s candidacy by announcing late in the campaign that he had reopened her email investigation. Should Trump be impeached, Comey’s reported memo, supposedly about Trump’s attempts to stifle the Russia probe, could be viewed as the proximate cause.
Nor is this the first time an FBI official could play a role in ending a presidency. The mythology of Watergate’s “deep throat” notwithstanding, it was Mark Felt, then the FBI’s No. 2 guy, who leaked information that led to the impeachment of Richard Nixon.
Flawed individuals create a flawed organization. Look at the bureau’s 9/11 failures. Before the attack, Minnesota agent Coleen Rowley expressed concerns about Zacarias Moussaoui, one of 9/11’s terrorists. FBI headquarters ignored her. Or the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Russian intelligence had provided the bureau with information about one of the two brother bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The bureau checked him out, then signed off without notifying local law enforcement.
These failings and others reflect the difficulties that even the best FBI directors face running the bureau. Lieberman can handle this? Are you kidding me?