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Faisal Shahzad Arrest: Lieberman Proposes Taking Away Citizenship Of Suspected Terrorists

First Posted: 07/04/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:20 PM ET

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In arguing against the reading of Miranda rights to terrorism suspects or affording them other constitutional protections, opponents of civil liberties run up against a powerful argument when dealing with American citizens.

Joe Lieberman has a creative solution: Take away their citizenship. "If you've joined an enemy of the United States in attacking the United States and trying to kill Americans, I think you should sacrifice your rights of citizenship," Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, told reporters Tuesday.

Lieberman argued that if an act of terrorism was coordinated with a group designated as a terrorist organization, then an American involved with such a group would lose citizenship and the constitutional protections that come with it. "It just seems to me if you're attacking your fellow Americans in an act of war, you lose the rights that come with citizenship," he said.

Lieberman said that the revocation of citizenship would not be automatic and there would be a right to go to court and to appeal the decision.

Since the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing, some Republicans have been arguing that, despite his status as a citizen, he should not be read Miranda rights.

UPDATE: Via Sam Stein: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the head of of the GOP's Senate campaign arm, is open to Lieberman's idea. "I'm interested in Senator Lieberman's approach. He is one of our leading members when it comes to national security issues and I would be interested in exploring that. I think at some point an act of war is a treasonous act, which could be a basis for relinquishing one's citizenship," he said.

Lieberman's bill would amend current law that revokes the citizenship of any American who joins a foreign military. The law exempts those who fight for Israel.

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