Lieberman, Brown Introduce Legislation to Strip Traitors of US Citizenship

Posted: Oct 13, 2011 2:17 PM

This legislation may help clear up some of the complex and murky legal questions surrounding future killings of enemies of the state who happen to be US citizens, such as Anwar Al-Awlaki:

US Sen. Scott Brown is co-sponsoring a bill that would strip terrorists of their American citizenship if they are found guilty of conspiring against America after two accused homegrown terrorists were arrested in the Bay State.  Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland was arrested last month and charged in a complex plot to attack Washington, D.C., and Tarek Mehanna of Sudbury is set to go on trial this fall on charges he provided “material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization,” and acted as a “media wing” for al-Qaeda.

“Individuals who work with terrorist organizations to attack our country and kill our people should lose the privileges of citizenship,” Brown said in a statement. “The recent arrest of Rezwan Ferdaus, who was stockpiling advanced weaponry and planning a major attack against our nation’s capital, highlights the growing problem of homegrown terrorism, even in a peaceful community like Ashland, Massachusetts. In future cases, this bill would take away what terrorists have already renounced through their words and actions — the right to call themselves Americans.” The bipartisan bill, dubbed the “Enemy Expatriation Act,” is co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Reps. Jason Altamira (D-Pa.) and Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). It would tweak an existing federal law that details how a U.S. citizen can lose his citizenship to include “a person who engages in hostilities or purposefully and materially supports hostilities against the United States.”

I described why our targeting of Al-Awlaki was perfectly legal HERE, but I'd hasten to add that some additional legislative clarity is certainly welcome.  I haven't reviewed the specifics of this bill yet, but I applaud its sponsors for making what appears to be a good-faith effort at tackling an important issue.