Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) introduced a resolution Thursday to urge the State Department to issue a "certificate of loss of nationality" to radical Islamic Cleric Anwar al Awlaki.
Awlaki, a dual United States/Yemeni citizen, has renounced his citizenship by engaging in treasonous acts, according to Rep. Dent.
"Awlaki preaches a culture of hate," said Dent, and has been a functioning member of al-Qaida "since before 9/11."
Awlaki provided spiritual guidance to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, and later advised Ft. Hood suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan and the underpants bomber Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Asked why it took so long to get this type of resolution for a man accused of so many terrorist acts, Dent said, "I think we've become much more aware of not only the types of threats he's been engaged in but the number of threats.... He was not only involved as a radical cleric providing spiritual guidance and he was certainly recruiting but he was also much more involved in operational aspects and planning."
Dent says that by revoking Awlaki's citizenship it will be easier to target him for covert operations and will keep him out of US civilian courts.
A U.S. official said that the move to strip Awlaki of his citizenship might not have as strong an impact as the Congressman suspects. “I suspect he’s probably on a no-fly list, so I don’t know what practical effect this has,” the official told Fox News, “He’s clearly thrown us a lot with al-Qaida, and that has consequences.”
So far the resolution only has 17 Republican co-sponsors, but Dent hopes that the measure can achieve broad bipartisan support.
- Fox News' Mike Levine contributed to this report.