Published June 19, 2013
Former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman criticized President Barack Obama when asked about the president’s lack of knowledge concerning the scandals surrounding his administration.
“I don’t think the president has been strong enough in response to the IRS situation,” Lieberman told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto in an exclusive interview. “He can’t be on top of everything, but he’s the President, and therefore he’s accountable in one way or another for everything that happens in his administration … he’s got to assume responsibility for it and act very aggressively to clean it up.”
The former Homeland Security chairman also addressed the NSA scandal, calling rogue contractor Edward Snowden a “criminal.”
“This guy is not a hero, he was working in a classified program, protecting our security, he went to a foreign country and is divulging all this information,” Lieberman said. "He’s specifically violated federal laws.”
When questioned by Cavuto about his prior knowledge of the secret NSA surveillance, the former senator said he was aware millions of Americans' phone records were being saved during his tenure chairing the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“I felt that it was a program that was very important to our security … and doesn’t violate people’s privacy,” Lieberman said. “If for some reason they saw something more and wanted to go further into really tapping somebody’s phone … they had to get a specific court order … this is not lawless this is very much within the law.”
Lieberman reminded Cavuto that the programs in question are being carried out under acts adopted by Congress and signed by the president.
"We’re trying to defend America from an enemy that strikes from the shadows," Lieberman said. "We have this phenomenal capacity from modern technology to figure out where danger may be coming from, and to stop it.”
Pressing Lieberman, Cavuto asked if unchecked power bred an atmosphere of abuse.
"That risk is so infinitesimally small when weighed against the protection that this program" provides, Lieberman responded. “This program prevented terrorist attacks against the United States.”