Webster report

The “Darker Side” to Dual Citizenship

A central thrust to Peter Schuck’s argument that it should be easier to deny citizens of judicial due process is that there are so many dual citizens. And dual citizenship, he says, has a darker side.

Dual citizenship has proliferated as easier travel and cosmopolitan mobility have fostered international relationships, which lead to more naturalizations and more marriages between people of different nationalities, who in turn can often transmit their different citizenships to their U.S.-born children. Government policies, both here and abroad, have also increased dual citizenship, mostly for good reasons. Traditionally, the State Department opposed dual citizenship out of concern about conflicted loyalties, military service requirements, diplomatic protection burdens and the like. Today the government no longer resists it, recognizing the legitimate causes of dual citizenship, the practical obstacles to preventing it and the fact that, in practice, it causes little harm.

But there remains a darker side to dual citizenship: Some citizens who spend most of their lives abroad now have only notional ties to the United States rather than a genuine communal or emotional connection. Al Qaeda will surely focus recruitment efforts on this group, even though only a few will turn on their country.

Which brings us to the case of Awlaki, a dual citizen of the United States and Yemen. The government claimed there was hard, actionable intelligence that he had plotted to kill Americans, and that he was our citizen in name only. He refused to return to the U.S. and could not be captured for interrogation and trial without putting troops on the ground and in danger (and perhaps not even then).

Does the Constitution really require that he receive the judicial process owed to a citizen who lives in our society and is charged with a serious crime? I think not.

I’m a dual citizen, having gotten Irish citizenship through my spouse. Does that mean I should forgo judicial process because I’m a suspect Irish terrorist? Was Peter King? Are Israeli-American dual citizens — a pretty common dual citizenship — suspect of being terrorists as well?

Of course, Schock doesn’t actually connect dual citizenship with increased likelihood that person will declare himself an enemy of the state (he even suggests that native-born Nidal Hasan was just dual-citizens Awlaki’s cat’s paw, all the evidence in the Webster report notwithstanding). He just uses it — and the prospect of all these dark scary people wandering around with US passports — to invoke fear before he proposes limiting due process to citizens.

Maybe his fear is what has led him, in the very same piece, to be so confused. He applauds our rigid treason laws, a stance utterly at odds with his suggestion suspect dual citizens should get different judicial due process.

The court has also held that the government may not take away one’s citizenship against one’s will, regardless of one’s actions, except for treason, which the Constitution properly makes hard to prove if, like Awlaki, you are not under a U.S. court’s jurisdiction.

How do you applaud the necessity of a court judgement, with rules about the standard of evidence, before someone gets labeled a traitor, and at the same time suggest that citizens (he really doesn’t limit it to dual citizens) should not have judicial process before they’re killed?

Apparently we now have Yale law professors so terrified by dual citizens he has decided American citizens — dual citizen or not — should have a lower standard of due process to be killed than to retain their citizenship.

The Trip Wires in the Anwar al-Awlaki Investigation

Congressman Frank Wolf doesn’t believe what the FBI told him during an August 1 hearing on the Webster report. He suspects that Anwar al-Awlaki was an informant for the FBI (or some other agency), something that FBI’d Executive Assistant Director for National Security denied. But evidence from the report about how the FBI dealt with the Awlaki wiretap as a “trip wire” makes it clear that even by 2009 the FBI wasn’t using Awlaki’s contacts as they had other extremists, like Hal Turner, to proactively generate new leads.

Frank Wolf suggests Awlaki was approached to be an informant

Now, Wolf’s questions about Awlaki generally are based, in part, on intelligence sources–like the NYPD and Andrew McCarthy–that are suspect. And he seems confused about the line between loathsome radical speech and evidence of terrorist intent.

But he does ask worthwhile questions, notably the lunexplained treatment of Awlaki after 9/11, particularly about suggestions that Awlaki may have been approached as an informant. Wolf starts by noting that in the last installment of Inspire [safe PDF courtesy of Jihadology], an article attributed to Awlaki revealed he had been approached to be an informant in 1996, shortly after San Diego authorities busted him in a–he claims–trumped up prostitution sting.

However, Aulaqi’s own words could potentially indicate otherwise. In his final column for Inspire, Aulaqi wrote: “I was visited by two men who introduced themselves as officials with the US government (they did not specify which government organization they belonged to) and that they are interested in my cooperation with them. When I asked what cooperation did they expect, they responded by saying that they are interested in having me liaise with them concerning the Muslim community in San Diego.”

Wolf then notes that–at a time when Awlaki was under investigation, was on a terrorist watch list, and had a Diplomatic Security warrant out for his arrest for passport fraud–he was allowed to enter the country in October 2002.

The unclassified version of the Webster Commission report confirmed that around 2001, “WFO opened a full investigation” on Aulaqi, and it remained open until May 2003, after Aulaqi again fled the U.S. for the U.K. and, later, Yemen.

As noted above, NYPD reported that Aulaqi was placed on the federal government’s Terror Watchlist in Summer 2002. Please explain why and how Aulaqi was permitted to board a flight to the U.S. in October 2002 if he was already included on the watchlist?

Additionally, if, as Mr. Giuliano testified, the FBI “knew [Aulaqi] was coming in” before he landed at JFK, what information was communicated to the U.S. attorney’s office that would set off this strange series of events early in the morning of October 10? Please provide for the record the full series of communications between the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office and the customs office?

During the hearing, I raised the question of whether the FBI requested that Aulaqi be allowed into the country, without detention for the outstanding warrant, due to a parallel investigation regarding Aulaqi’s former colleague al Timimi, a radical imam who was recruiting American Muslims to terrorism. Notably, the Timimi case was being led by the same WFO agent who called the U.S. attorney’s office and customs on the morning of October 10. Did WFO want Aulaqi released to assist in its investigation of Timimi?

Public records demonstrate a nexus between these cases. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @HanniFakhoury I am your institutional memory Fakhoury!
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bmaz @emptywheel YES!! How often, and in how many ways, do I have to express that??? #ComeOnMan
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bmaz @HanniFakhoury You CANNOT tell me you are shocked by this. I was though the 90s, but the record is too bad and too long now for that.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @MarkUdall: Briefing on @CIA IG rprt shows it's time for John Brennan to resign. As long as he heads #CIA, problems will persist: http:/…
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JimWhiteGNV RT @gregpmiller: CIA IG summary doesn't name Eatinger, but says atty who referred matter to DOJ "had been provided inaccurate information"…
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JimWhiteGNV RT @RonWyden: .@CIA broke into Senate computer files. Then tried to have Senate staff prosecuted. Absolutely unacceptable in a democracy.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @conor64: Who cares that John Brennan was wrong. It’s not like he’s unilaterally deciding who lives or dies in drone strikes or somethin…
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emptywheel @OrinKerr if US law reaches MSFT property overseas than domestic limits on spying should too, no?
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emptywheel @OrinKerr under that theory isn't stealing fr Google cable overseas illegal on several counts?
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JimWhiteGNV @CJonesScout I wanted Zunino in that deal for Rays!
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JimWhiteGNV I'm sure the spying on the Senate committee was done with lots of moral rectitude.
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emptywheel @Atrios menopause?
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