CONCORD — Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown says he “nearly fell off of my chair” when he heard President Barack Obama admit yesterday that he had “no strategy” to deal with ISIS, a terrorist group that Brown has said “makes al-Qaida look like Boy Scouts.”
“What the heck was he talking about?” Brown said today. “How about meeting with his advisers and our allies immediately, getting into the Situation Room, getting on a conference call and figuring it out?”
Brown spoke with the New Hampshire Journal shortly after proposing that Congress immediately pass legislation revoking the citizenship of U.S. citizens who are fighting alongside ISIS in the Middle East. Intelligence reports put the number at about 300.
His proposal, first reported by the New Hampshire Journal early Friday morning (see report below), has drawn widespread coverage in the national media.
It also drew the criticism of Brown GOP Senate primary foe Jim Rubens, who called it a ‘”flagrant attack on constitutional liberty.” Rubens’ full statement is below.
Brown said that when he was in the Senate, he joined with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman twice to try to pass similar bills, but due to “a little bit of politics,” both died.
The Terrorist Expatriation Act of 2010 would have revoked the citizenship of those “providing material support or resources to a Foreign Terrorist Organization” or “actively engaging” in “hostilities against the United States or its allies.” In 2011, he and Lieberman introduced another similar piece of legislation called the Enemy Expatriation Act. Two House members, one Democrat and one Republican, also signed on to that bill.
“These bills were based on what was happening at the time,” Brown said. “We know that we have seen Americans go to other countries and take up arms and say they want to kill us and change our way of life. We felt they left their citizenship at the door when they did that and no longer deserved the rights and privileges provided by our Constitution and our country.”
Given the situation today, Brown said, “This makes sense. It’s common sense. The President says he doesn’t have a strategy, but how about the first strategy being taking away citizenship of those fighting alongside the terrorists?
“If we take away their passports and strip them of their citizenship they can’t some back,” he said.
“I hope Congress will do this immediately when they come back” from summer recess, Brown said. “It’s a no-brainer.”
Brown suggested that in the meantime, Obama should consider issuing an executive order revoking the citizenship of the American terrorists.
“He likes executive orders,” Brown said. “This is one executive order that I’d agree with.”
Brown questioned the effectiveness of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s request that the treasury and state department sanction ISIS and ISIL.
“With all due respect,” he said, “they are bank robbers. The first thing they do when they go into an area is rob the banks. There are no sanctions.”
Brown made the proposal as his campaign released a web video of him criticizing the Obama administration’s “incoherent foreign policy” during a recent town hall in Derry with Sen. John McCain.
In the video, Brown says, “Our friends don’t trust us and our foes don’t fear us.”
See the video below.
Rubens Friday afternoon said, “The rise of barbaric enemies like ISIS makes it critically important that we do everything within our power to protect our citizens. During times like these good intentions can lead to stripping away of personal liberties.
“That is exactly what Scott Brown proposed this morning, calling for the stripping of citizenship from Americans. This is not a new proposal, in fact it was introduced in 2010 and 2012 in Congress. Both times, it was very quickly determined that they so egregiously violated the Constitution, they never even made it to a vote.
“There are many reasons it violates the Constitution including only requiring that the violation was ‘more likely to happen than not’ and the vague definition of ‘engaging in hostilities against American or its allies’ which could be broad enough to include donating books to a school in Afghanistan. The Supreme Court has long recognized that the constitutional right of citizenship cannot be taken away unless a person obtained it illegally or voluntarily renounced American citizenship,
“This is a reaction based on fear and anger rather than smart counter-terrorism policy. A recent example of this was when Scott Brown voted for the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act has allowed the government to spy on our e-mails and phone conversations and has done nothing to reduce the threat of terrorism.”
Rubens said, “Anyone found to be aiding terrorist should be brought to swift justice. Our system already allows for that without the stripping away of Constitutional rights of the citizens we are trying to protect.”
(Our earlier report follows.)
CONCORD — Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown today will roll out a plan addressing U.S. intelligence reports indicating that as many as 300 Americans are fighting alongside the terrorist group ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The plan calls for stripping those Americans of their citizenship.
Brown will call on Congress to immediately pass such legislation while releasing a video, taken at his recent town hall in Derry with Arizona Sen. John McCain, focusing on foreign policy.
Brown’s campaign says that in 2010, he introduced the bipartisan Terrorist Expatriation Act, which would revoke the citizenship of those “providing material support or resources to a Foreign Terrorist Organization” or “actively engaging” in “hostilities against the United States or its allies.” In 2011, he introduced another similar piece of legislation called the Enemy Expatriation Act.
Both bills died.
Brown said, “One of the greatest threats facing the homeland today is the mayhem that will happen when hundreds of American ISIS fighters return to the United States to spread their terror here. Their goal is to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and plant a flag at the White House, and mass killing is their means for achieving that goal. That’s why Congress needs to pass legislation that would strip the citizenship of any American who joins a foreign terrorist organization. We need to keep our country safe by stopping these American ISIS fighters from re-entering the country.”
In the web video, Brown criticizes the Obama Administration’s “incoherent” foreign policy, saying “our friends don’t trust us and our foes don’t fear us.”