The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has accused a Virginia member of the U.S. House of Representatives of abusing his office by contacting the FBI seeking further information about CAIR. According to a Fox News report:
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., sent the letter on Feb. 2 after FOXNews.com report that the bureau had severed ties with the Council on American-Islamic Relations amid mounting evidence that the group was linked to a support network for Hamas. The FBI severed its ties with all local chapters of CAIR after a 15-year investigation culminated with the conviction in December of Hamas fund-raisers. CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Wolf reached out to the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism to find out whether the bureau still had any contact with the group it called a front for Islamic radicals, and whether CAIR was receiving funds from foreign sources. After waiting more than a month, Wolf said, the only response he got was a four-paragraph letter from the FBI’s head of public relations. The response left the 15-term congressman seething — and now he’s pushing back. “I would like these questions fully answered by this Friday, March 13, and by someone who works on counter-terrorism, rather than a public affairs officer,” Wolf wrote in a follow-up letter this week. “I would think the Bureau would be embarrassed to send the insufficient response I received.” Wolf, the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the FBI, told FOXNews.com he personally hand-delivered his response to the FBI on Monday. He said he is “one of the FBI’s best friends in Congress” and expected timely and detailed responses to his questions. “I was deeply disappointed with the FBI’s response,” Wolf wrote. “It took the Bureau more than a month to respond, and the letter I received provides only a partial answer to one of the 10 questions I posed.”
CAIR, however, charged that Representative Wolfe with basing his accusations against CAIR on the work of a well-known critic of CAIR and of seeking political “payback.” According to the CAIR announcement :
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) charged today that a Virginia member of the U.S. House of Representatives has “abused his office” by seeking to pressure the FBI to produce negative information about the Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. In a letter delivered to the FBI on Monday, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) said he is “deeply disappointed” in the agency’s “insufficient response” to an earlier letter apparently seeking negative information based on smears against CAIR by Internet Muslim-bashers like Steven Emerson. Emerson was recently named one of Fairness & Accuracy in Media’s “dirty dozen” of Islamophobes. FOXNews.com articles on the controversy have been based on Emerson’s online attacks on CAIR. CAIR has been exposing Emerson’s Islamophobic rhetoric since publishing a point-by-point refutation of his 1994 “Jihad in America” video. Wolf seemed to threaten the FBI’s budget unless he received the type of negative response he seeks. He wrote: “Having resumed a leadership role this year as ranking member on the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations subcommittee, it is important to me that the FBI provide timely and detailed responses.” Wolf’s attempt to obtain negative information to be used against CAIR may stem from that group’s long history of criticism of the Virginia congressman’s political stances. “It appears that Congressman Wolf is seeking payback for all the times CAIR and American Muslims have challenged his political positions using their constitutionally-protected right to petition elected representatives,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “It is unfortunate that Wolf has abused his office to pressure a government agency to target those he obviously views as political opponents. Public office should be used to serve the people, not to pursue personal vendettas.”
However, as the Fox report notes, and as discussed in a previous post, Representative Wolfe is not the only member of Congress involved with this issue:
Wolf is not the only member of Congress interested in CAIR’s case; the House and Senate are both pushing the FBI to clarify its decision to ban contact with CAIR. Members of the House anti-terrorism caucus have called on the FBI to assert their ban as a government-wide policy. Republican Reps. Sue Myrick and Patrick McHenry of North Carolina and Paul Broun of Georgia urged FBI Director Robert Mueller last week “to show other federal agencies the evidence the Department of Justice has on CAIR’s terrorist ties in order to ensure that none of our federal agencies are working with this group.” Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., pushed Mueller in the same direction. “Obviously, we believe this should be government-wide policy,” they wrote in a February letter.
Documents released in the Holy Land Trial have revealed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as identifying the organization itself as being part of the U.S. Brotherhood. A recent post discussed an interview with the Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in which he confirms a relationship between his organization and CAIR. Investigative research posted on GMBDW had determined that CAIR had it origins in the U.S. Hamas infrastructure and is an integral part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood with a long history of support for fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and terrorism.