Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Scott Brown, R-Mass., will introduce a bill to strip Americans of their citizenship if they become involved with foreign terrorist groups.
While the legislation would not apply to Faisal Shahzad, who is now under arrest for attempting to detonate a bomb in New York City’s Times Square, Lieberman said the bill was prompted by Shahzad and other Americans who have joined forces with groups that want to harm the United States.
“It illustrates again the problem that has been recurring with American citizens becoming part of terrorist organizations,” Lieberman said, adding that the bill would make it easier to quesition terrorism suspects because they would no longer have the same rights as an American and would not be entitled to remain silent and hire a lawyer.
An identical bipartisan House bill is forthcoming and will be introduced by Reps. Jason Altmire, a Democrat, and Charles Dent, a Republican, both of Pennsylvania.
Brown said the bill was not partisan or political but rather a measure needed to keep American safe as groups like Al Qaeda work to recruit U.S. citizens to carry out terrorist acts on U.S. soil.
Shahzad, for instance, said he trained in a Pakistan terror camp.
“As they change the way we do business, we need to adjust the way that we respond,” Brown said.
The two described the bill as merely an update of an existing law, passed in 1940, that targeted U.S. citizens fighting alongside an enemy of the United States. But it may be really difficult to pass their measure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she had questions about the bill and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the constitution would make it “pretty difficult” to strip an American of their citizenship.