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Public Statements

Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DENT. Mr. Chairman, I first want to commend the chairman and the ranking member for the very good work they have done on this bill. They really have worked in a bipartisan manner, and they are really trying to advance the best interests of the intelligence community and this Nation's national security. So I applaud them for the spirit in which they have taken on this legislation.

I will withdraw this amendment after having conversations with the chairman. But the point I want to make about the amendment is that the amendment simply directs the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA that within 90 days of this act to provide the congressional intelligence committees all information possessed by the DNI and the CIA relating to the pursuit and targeting of one Anwar al-Awlaki by the Federal Government as well as an analysis of the legal impediments to pursuing the capture of Anwar al-Awlaki.

Americans are all very much familiar with who Osama bin Laden is. Everybody knows who he is, and we're all extremely gratified about his demise. At the same time, we should all be aware too that Anwar al-Awlaki seems to be the leader of many of the operational aspects of al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula. He is a real threat. He is an American citizen. He is also a Yemeni citizen. He has targeted Americans. We always thought he was a spiritual adviser and certainly a recruiter for al Qaeda. But now it's quite clear that he has also gone operational.

We're aware of that as it relates to the underwear bomber, Abdulmutallab and his attempt to the blow up the airliner near Detroit.

So the point of this amendment is to raise awareness on Anwar al-Awlaki, also to point out the fact that he is a citizen, to point out the fact that I think it's important that we consider essentially that he has committed expatriating acts. I mean, the fact that he has targeted American citizens, that he has called for the death of many Americans, I have legislation that is also prepared to deal with his citizenship issue, that it should be revoked, or at least we should seriously do that, just as we would for any other individual who takes up arms against this country. We have laws on the books from 1944 when there were individuals who were signed up with the Nazi army or the Imperial Army of Japan who took up arms against this country as citizens. Those are expatriating acts.

I simply believe that if an individual takes up arms with al Qaeda or the Taliban or any other terrorist organization, foreign terrorist organization that is intent on killing Americans, that we should treat them just as we would an individual who is an agent of a foreign government or part of a foreign army. That's the whole point.

But recognizing this is probably not the best place to offer this amendment at this time, I have agreed to withdraw it. I appreciate the chairman's consideration, and I will be working to make sure that this Congress has the opportunity to address the citizenship issue of Anwar al-Awlaki. It has reported in the press that our government has a kill or capture order on Mr. Al-Awlaki. I don't know if that is true or not. I read it in the press.

Just last week we saw reports that Anwar al-Awlaki was supposedly the intended target of an attack, unsuccessful, in Yemen, and so he is still alive. And the point I want to make is that I think that if we're targeting an American citizen for assassination, then I think we should at least take up the issue of his citizenship and revoke it if at all possible. So at that point I will address it in another forum.

At this time I would again urge everybody here to support the underlying legislation. I will withdraw this amendment, and I appreciate the chairman and ranking member's consideration.

Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment.

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