A group of House Republicans is calling for an investigation into whether a leading American Muslim advocacy group tried to "spy" on congressional offices by placing interns on key security committees.
Rep. Sue Myrick, North Carolina Republican, cited an internal January 2007 memo in which the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) discussed placing Muslim interns on Capitol Hill to "focus on influencing congressmen responsible for policy that directly impacts the American Muslim community."
CAIR said it had a particular interest in influencing the judiciary, intelligence and homeland security committees.
The memo was unearthed by David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry, authors of a book titled "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America." Mrs. Myrick, a founder of the House Anti-Terrorism Caucus, wrote a forward for the book and was given an advance copy. A CAIR spokesman, dismissing the Wednesday morning Capitol Hill news conference as "a book launch for Muslim bashers," said the memo constitutes stolen property, as it was obtained by the son of an author who posed undercover inside the advocacy group.
"They had a spy in our organization for months, stole our property and the most they can come up with is that we placed interns on Capitol Hill? I wish we had placed more interns," spokesman Ibrahim Hooper cq said. He added that the group has filed a police report on the matter.
"Muslims are interested in international affairs, civil rights, civil liberties, First Amendment issues, freedom of religion, so it's natural they'd be interested in certain committees," he said.
Mrs. Myrick and Republican Reps. John Shadegg of Arizona, Paul Broun of Georgia and Trent Franks of Arizona called Wednesday for an investigation by the House sergeant-at-arms into whether CAIR was successful in planting congressional interns.
"If an organization that is connected to or supports terrorists is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related congressional offices, I think this needs to be made known," Mr. Broun said.
CAIR, which calls itself "America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization," has a history of controversy. The Justice Department labeled the organization as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a group that was convicted last year of funding the Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas.