Lieberman Will Introduce Bill to Take Away Citizen’s Citizenship

By Seth Freed Wessler May 05, 2010

Following the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-born, US citizen who is said to have admitted to involvement in Sunday’s failed Time Square bombing, the airways and Congressional wings were buzzing with talk of how to strip the citizenship rights of citizens deemed connected to terrorism. Now, Sen. Joe Lieberman, the conservative Independent from Connecticut, has announced that he will move the discussion to the floor. An existing law already revokes citizenship of anyone found to be fighting for a foreign army (the one exception being Israel–Americans are allowed to join the Israeli army). Lieberman says he’s "putting together legislation to amend that to [specify that] any individual American citizen who is found to be involved in a foreign terrorist organization, as defined by the Department of State, would be deprived of their citizenship rights.” The move would expand to citizens what has been a largely lawless and arbitrary treatment of non-citizen terrorism suspects. And, because terrorism and the War on Terror are fraught, malleable and contingent political categories, the potential for abuse and for racially targeted application of such denial of rights is very real. Upon arrest, Shahzad was not read a Miranda warning, though authorities later told him of his rights. John McCain responded to the the retroactive reading of rights saying, “I certainly would not read this individual his Miranda rights. I would not do that." Lieberman’s announcement is likely to be just the first in a series of efforts to dismantle civil liberties.