Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will unveil legislation Thursday that revokes the citizenship of Americans who join foreign terrorist groups.

Lieberman will be joined by Rep. Jason Altimire (D-Pa.), who is introducing companion legislation in the House, as well as Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.)


The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee drew a brief sketch of the bill Tuesday, saying that it would amend existing law that prevents Americans from joining foreign armies, besides Israel's, at the cost of their citizenship.

Lieberman defended his legislation Thursday as similar in scope to laws which might have stripped citizenship of those who joined the German or Japanese military during World War II.

“It’s one thing to belong to a club, even a political group, that I might think is radical here in the United States," Lieberman said during an appearance on Fox News. "But when you join a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the United States Department of State, that’s not your freedom of association. You’ve joined a group, one of whose central purposes is to bring down America, to ruin our security, to change our way of life, and I think when you do that you’ve essentially said: I don’t want to be an American citizen anymore.”

The move comes days after 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. The bill would allow such individuals to be tried before military tribunals instead of civilian courts. 

Lieberman's legislation has drawn criticism some members of his own party who have expressed concern that the plan might be unconstitutional.

The senator said during the appearance on "Your World with Neil Cavuto" that it does not make sense for individuals like Shahzad should not enjoy criminal civil rights afforded to other Americans.

“You have to think about it as if someone went over to Germany or Japan during the Second World War and joined the German or Japanese military," Lieberman said.

This post was updated from a previous version