Former Democrat Vice Presidential candidate and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman served in the Senate from 1989 to 2013 as both a Democrat and later an Independent.
Now, Lieberman has been hired by ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications company.
Via a Washington Examiner op-ed.
The former “conscience of the Senate” has been hired to represent China’s ZTE telecommunications company, which is basically a front organization for Chinese intelligence services. ZTE is under pressure in light of overdue U.S. government efforts to prevent it from entrenching a stronger position in the U.S. economy. With the U.S. now in a new cold war with Beijing, no former U.S. official, let alone a foreign policy hawk like Lieberman, should be serving ZTE.
While Lieberman will reportedly register as a lobbyist (he has to, legally), he claims that he isn’t actually going to lobby. Instead, Lieberman says, “I’m really supposed to be listening and asking questions.”
“There are obviously still concerns about the safety of their products or the extent to which their products could be used to compromise American security in any way or even individual security,” Lieberman said, according to Politico. He also said that his new employer has “decided to really try to get ahead of those concerns and be in a position to answer them.”
“I don’t expect at any point, certainly in this phase, to be giving ZTE’s point of view,” Lieberman added. “I’m really supposed to be listening and asking questions.” The former senator denied claims that he would be lobbying on their behalf “because they’ve got plenty of lobbyists and they don’t need me to do that, and I didn’t particularly want to do that.”
Here’s more from Politico:
U.S. officials have ramped up warnings that ZTE, which produces networking equipment as well as smartphones and tablet computers, provides opportunities for Chinese cyber espionage, given its ties to the Chinese government. Key lawmakers this summer sought to block the company from doing business in the U.S., but Congress later settled for a ban on ZTE entering into U.S. government contracts, following intervention by President Donald Trump.
Still, U.S. suspicion of ZTE and another Chinese telecom company, Huawei, is widespread. Canada arrested the chief financial officer of Huawei this month at the request of American officials who contend she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. The action strained relations between the U.S. and China at a time when the countries are trying to de-escalate their trade war.
According to the report, a spokesperson from ZTE confirmed the hire and said they were conducting an international mission to “better understand and address national security concerns of its customers.”
“ZTE initiated this fact-finding mission as part of its comprehensive effort to better understand and address any national security concerns of its customers, Congressional and Executive Branch officials in the U.S., and governments across the globe,” the spokesperson said.
And, via Fox Business: