Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is planning to introduce a bill that would allow the government to take away citizenship from Americans who join foreign terrorist organizations.

The proposal would amend current law that bars American citizens from fighting for foreign armies at the price of losing their citizenship.


"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, who helms the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on Fox News.

The move comes the same day Faisal Shahzad -- a Pakistani-American who is a naturalized U.S. citizen -- was arrested in connection with a failed plot to set off a bomb in New York City's Times Square.

Shahzad could be subject to the law if it passes.

If the legislation is made law, it would allow such people to be tried before military tribunals. Lieberman, who is one of the most hawkish members of the Democratic caucus, believes military courts should be used to try terror suspects, not civilian courts.

Lieberman plans to move the legislation as a standalone measure, according to aides, who said that does not preclude them from attempting to amend it to other legislation down the line.

An aide said that centrist Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) is introducing companion legislation. Another aide added that Lieberman is seeking co-sponsors to the bill, but is prepared to move forward with it should he not attract any supporters off the bat.

The Connecticut senator and a cadre of Republican lawmakers believe that trying terror suspects in military courts would allow for investigators to gather more secretive intelligence from suspects without it being made public, so that terror groups aren't tipped off.

This post was updated at 6:32 p.m.