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WCCO DEBATE: State Department already has authority to revoke passports

Sen. Franken has said he will look at any proposal that would make sure that individuals fighting with ISIL cannot return to this country. The State Department already has the authority to revoke passports. Even Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the State Department already has this authority.

September 2014: Franken Spokeswoman Said Franken Would “Look At Any Proposal That Would Make Sure That Individuals Fighting With ISIL Cannot Return To This Country,” But Added That The State Department Already Had That Authority.According to the Star Tribune, “Asked whether Franken backs Bachmann’s proposal, Fetissoff said: ‘The State Department already has the authority to revoke passports but Sen. Franken will look at any proposal that would make sure that individuals fighting with ISIL cannot return to this country.’” [Star Tribune, 9/10/14]

Republican Senators Acknowledged The State Department Had The Authority To Revoke Passports Of Suspected Terrorists By Asking Them To Exercise It. According to the Washington Times, “In a letter last week to the State and Homeland Security departments, 14 Republican senators asked Secretary of State John F. Kerry to use the authority the law grants him to revoke passports of anyone who is discovered to have joined the militants. Their concern underscores realities of war in the 21st century … A State Department official acknowledged the authority to revoke passports of those deemed to be national security threats and said that power would be used ‘based on the circumstances and evidence.’” [Washington Times, 9/15/14]

Former Secretary Of State Albright: McFadden’s Proposal Would Not Be Successful.In October 2014, MinnPost asked Secretary Albright, “[Franken’s] opponent, Mike McFadden, has proposed revoking the passports of people who have gone overseas and trained with these groups. Would that be a successful approach to this?” Albright replied, “No, the State Department has the authority to revoke passports. It is ongoing, it’s something that’s been there because over the years people are concerned about a particular individual, but what is important is to do it on a case-by-case basis, which is what the Senator has been saying. [State Department officials] basically watch who may be a threat of some kind, and what diplomats do is issue visas or not issue visas, and revoke passports on a case-by-case basis. So I don’t think it needs kind of that blunt approach of a law.” [MinnPost, 10/20/14]

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