May 10, 2010

Jason Linkens hit the nail on the head with the description of this interview... "All right! Bring on the bedwetters, Joe Lieberman and Peter King!" After both of these clowns endorsed a bill to strip terrorism suspects of their U.S. citizenship, neither of these two should be allowed to go on television ever again. Unfortunately I know our media is going to keep bringing them back on to do some more fear mongering at every opportunity.

I've got to wonder if we'd have the unfortunate circumstance of these two polluting the airways with this garbage if that Times Square bomber had turned out to be a home grown American right wing militia member. Somehow, I doubt it.

WALLACE: Senator Lieberman, you just heard Mr. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser. Your reaction to his discussion of the way that the case of the Times Square bomber was handled?

LIEBERMAN: Well, after the fact of the attempted bombing attack last Saturday night, the reaction was not just excellent, it was almost miraculous -- 53 hours and we've apprehended him. Great cooperation. Just the kind of work that we all hoped would happen when we set up the Department of Homeland Security post-9/11.

But the fact is that we were lucky. We did not prevent the attempted attack. And that's the -- in some sense, the fourth break through our defenses. Last spring in Arkansas, Hasan, the Detroit bomber and this one.

Look, we're in a big open society. And if people are fanatical enough to put their own lives on the line -- "I want to kill other innocent human beings" -- it's hard to stop them every time, but that has to be our goal. So I'd say in terms of prevention, the system failed.

And what we've got to do now is to go back, put all the facts together and look at every point. Was there something the U.S. government, our allies, could have done to stop Faisal Shahzad before he parked that car in Times Square?

WALLACE: Same basic question picking up on that with you, Congressman King. Is there something more the Obama administration could have done with at least three attacks in the last six months -- Hasan, Abdulmutallab, and now Shahzad?

KING: Well, I was very critical of the administration for the Major Hasan shooting. I was also very critical of the Abdulmutallab incident on Christmas Day.

As far as this one, Chris, the evidence isn't in yet as to what was available. Based on what we've seen, I don't know if we could have stopped him before he got -- Shahzad before he got to Times Square. We'll have to wait until, you know, all the dots are put out there. It's very difficult because we don't get very much information from this administration.

But one real criticism I do have, Chris, is what happened in the last hours of the investigation. Beginning some time on Monday afternoon, high administration sources were leaking out the most confidential, classified information which compromised this investigation, put lives at risk and very probably caused Shahzad to escape and make it undetected to the airport.

They were putting out information I'd never heard of in a -- in a case of this magnitude, and it was coming from the administration, coming from Washington. And I know the troops on the ground in New York were very concerned about it.

WALLACE: Congressman King, you just heard John Brennan say that Shahzad was questioned for somewhere between three and four hours under the public safety exception before he was read his Miranda rights.

Does this administration have the right balance now between, on the one hand -- and of course, one of the problems is Shahzad is a U.S. citizen -- but between, on the one hand, gathering intelligence and, on the other hand, trying to build a criminal case?

KING: Well, they clearly did not have the right balance on the Christmas Day bombing. They may have had it this time because I don't know, you know, why they made the decision after four hours. I hope they consulted with the director of national intelligence, the director of the CIA, the DIA, FBI, all of our elements of the intelligence community, to make sure that they'd gotten everything from Shahzad as they could have because, Chris, the real -- we have to realize we're going to face more and more of these domestic attacks, because we have done -- both the Bush and the Obama administration has done a basically good job of keeping terrorists from coming into the country.

So we're going to face more and more homegrown terrorists -- yes, American citizens. And we have to find out how we're going to deal with that, and what are we going to do with Miranda, because, you know, Miranda warnings are really a warning, not so much a right. It's a rule of evidence. And it's more important we find out are there other plots out here rather than actually what happens to Shahzad. He's off the streets anyway.

But if there's another 10, 15, 20 plots out there, that to me is more important to get all the intelligence we can on that. So I think we may have to work on revisions. I know Senator Lindsey Graham is talking about perhaps setting up an actual -- actually separate system of justice dealing with American citizens who are allied with a foreign army or a foreign enemy the way Shahzad certainly appears to have been.

WALLACE: Well, Senator Lieberman, that brings us back to you, because you...


WALLACE: ... came up with an idea this week, a controversial idea -- strip the U.S. citizenship from any American citizen who provides material evidence to a foreign terror group.

Question: What about the presumption of innocence? How can you strip the citizenship before someone is convicted of a crime?

LIEBERMAN: Well, the presumption of innocence remains. In other words, this is a process. You know, I was surprised at how controversial the recommendation was, frankly.

And I think, in part, it was because people don't know that there's a 1940 statute amended several times since that says if you're an American citizen and you join the military of a country that's at war with us, it's basis for the State Department to begin a process to revoke your citizenship. That's been upheld by the Supreme Court.

I offered this proposal because we've seen a pattern now. Al Qaida and the other terrorist groups are changing their mode of operating. And increasingly, they're looking for American citizens to carry out these plots, and one of the reasons is the passport that lets them -- like Shahzad -- come in and out of the country.

So the way this works, Chris -- the State Department decides based on intelligence and other factors -- or open statements -- Awlaki, the radical cleric in Yemen, is an American citizen. If he gets captured, do I want him read -- does anybody want him read his Miranda rights? No.

So I say the State Department ought to be able to begin a process, and these people can be represented. Look, an American citizen takes an oath to defend and protect the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic. If you join a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department, which is what my amendment says, you violated that oath. You have no more right to be an American citizen.

WALLACE: But you know, Senator, that -- there was a 1940 law, but there were also Supreme Court rulings in 1967 and 1980, and they said if an American joins a foreign army, a formal army, that's fighting against the U.S., he still doesn't give up his citizenship unless he voluntarily chooses to do so.

LIEBERMAN: But in those cases, Chris, as I read them, they also said that action equals intent -- in other words, you can assume somebody's intention by their actions, by the very fact that they've taken up arms against the United States of America. The main change...

WALLACE: Well, in those cases they said joining the army wasn't enough. They had to voluntarily waive their citizenship.

LIEBERMAN: Well, but it wasn't that you had to come forward and say, "I'm no longer an American citizen." Incidentally, if any of these terrorists want to do that, they can stop at the local American consul's office and just say they no longer want to be citizens. People actually do that.

But the passport is part of a tool that the terrorist groups have now. It's probably the main reason why the terrorists in Pakistan wanted to use Shahzad. He had an American passport. We've got to stop that.

Transcript via Lexis Nexis.

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