Sense of Deception

Schumer changes tune on stripping extremists of citizenship


By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 — 4:11 pm

A key US Senator who indicated tentative, early support for stripping US nationals tied to overseas terrorist groups of their citizenship now firmly opposes the plan, his office said Wednesday.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer had said Tuesday that he had not reviewed the controversial proposal from Independent Senator Joe Lieberman but “that sounds like something I’d support.”

“Having learned about the proposal, the senator believes it would be found unconstitutional and would also be ineffective in this context,” Schumer spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.

Lieberman had floated his plan amid a debate sparked by the arrest and interrogation of a Pakistani-born US citizen suspected of being behind the failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square.

“If you have joined an enemy of the United States in attacking the United States to try to kill Americans I think you sacrifice your rights of citizenship,” said Lieberman.

US law requires authorities to inform such suspects of their right to remain silent and have a lawyer present, with some exceptions in cases where they believe the person being questioned may have knowledge of imminent crimes.

Failure to inform them of their rights can lead courts to exclude evidence obtained thanks to their interrogation.

“There are much better ways of obtaining information from terrorists,” said Fallon.


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