As some Republicans in Congress continue to criticize the administration for its decision to read Miranda rights to alleged attempted terorrist Faisal Shahzad, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman is proposing a plan to avoid reading those rights to suspects like Shahzad. The Connecticut senator, who typically votes with Democrats but is hawkish on national security issues, wants to see a new law that would strip people like Shahzad of their citizenship and, subsequently, their Miranda rights.
Lieberman is planning to introduce a bill that would allow the government to revoke the citizenship of an American who joins a foreign terrorist organization, the Hill reports. The proposed legislation would amend current law that strips a person's citizenship if they fight with a foreign army.
"I think it's time for us to look at whether we want to amend that law to apply it to American citizens who choose to become affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations, whether they should not also be deprived automatically of their citizenship and therefore be deprived of rights that come with that citizenship when they are apprehended and charged with a terrorist act," Lieberman, head of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on Fox News.
Earlier in the day, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)to read Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, his Miranda rights, while Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said it was questionable whether Shahzad should face criminal charges, even though he is a citizen.
The FBI clarified yesterday that investigators interviewed Shahzad Monday night and early Tuesday morningand that he was cooperative both before and after.
If Lieberman's proposal became law, alleged terrorists (such as Shahzad) would be tried before a military tribunal, not a civilian court.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he was open to Lieberman's idea, the Huffington Post reports.
"I'm interested in Senator Lieberman's approach," Cornyn said. "I think at some point an act of war is a treasonous act, which could be a basis for relinquishing one's citizenship."
Cornyn said it was a "stroke of good luck" that Shahzad cooperated after hearing the Miranda rights, according to the Huffington Post. "What if he had not waived them and just quit talking, said 'I want my lawyer'?" he said.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) reportedly added, "Maybe we got lucky and [Shahzad] said I will go ahead and talk to you anyway. But you didn't know that when you read [him] the rights."
Democrats, meanwhile, defended the process by which Shahzad was arrested, the Washington Post reports.
"Since he's arrested here in the United States, he's an American citizen, he's going to be entitled to the same rights that other American citizens have," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), head of the Armed Services Committee. "So, you want to make sure you can try and convict this guy, and if you don't do it right, you can mess up your own trial and conviction. So you've got to do it right. Otherwise you're working against yourself, whatever the rights are, including the Miranda warning."