Joe Lieberman proposed a new bill this morning that could strip Americans of their citizenship if they're affiliated with a foreign terrorist organization.
There's already a law on the books that allows the State Department to take away citizen from people who fight for enemy countries. Leiberman told Fox News: "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," he said.
I'm sorry, but: deprived automatically of their citizenship when charged? Seriously? And what if, in our rush to ensure public safety, we charge someone who is innocent? That's why we have a judicial process in the first place -- to decide whether those charges are warranted and a suspect is, in fact, guilty.
On MSNBC this morning, Lieberman said the law was necessary because it would give the U.S. a choice of whether to try such suspects in federal court or in front of a military commission. And a Lieberman aide told Fox News that using a military commission would prevent "a big show trial in New York City."
Lieberman's office has gone into more detail -- with Greg Sargent of The Washington Post -- about how the law would work:
It would empower the State Department to conclude -- on its own -- that Americans are conspiring with terror groups and should be stripped of their citizenship. ... You would still have the right to contest this in court. And if you did, the burden of proof would be on State -- not on you -- to persuade the court that your involvement with a terror organization is sufficient to justify taking away your citizen status.
So, Lieberman's brilliant plan is to strip suspects of their citizenship so that we can avoid show trials by putting them in front of secret military tribunals ... only after they have a chance for a different court proceeding to contest the decision, which they can instead use as a show trial?