October 17, 2009

Rep. Sue Myrick, the crazy Republican from North Carolina, is an Islamaphobe's Islamaphobe. She's been at it since Day One, bashing Muslims and concocting paranoid theories about their nefarious intentions. Who can forget the time she wondered whether there was something to all those strangely accented people who run the nation's convenience stores?

Now she has fresh meat for that grill, torn straight from the pages of WorldNetDaily:

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."

As Steve Benen explains, this is classic right-wing paranoia -- mixed with its usual underhanded criminality:

The book Myrick, Shadegg, Broun, and Franks are relying on was published by WorldNetDaily, a radical fringe website that recently "reported" that the Obama administration is considering Nazi-like concentration camps for dissidents.

The book's co-author's son pretended to be Muslim to infiltrate the not-so-nefarious organization as an apparent intern. (Put another way, "the dastardly plot to plant Muslim interns as spies on the Hill was uncovered by an intern acting as a spy.") The book's co-author's son alleges that CAIR -- an entirely legitimate, mainstream advocacy group, that is not "connected to" terrorists -- is secretly plotting, using fake interns as pawns in some elaborate scheme.

So, do Myrick, Shadegg, Broun, and Franks know of any intern/spies CAIR has sent to Capitol Hill? Actually, no, but they heard about this book and want an investigation anyway.

Honestly, I get the sense that some of these guys are getting dumber as time goes on.

As for "infiltration" of CAIR, the man who pretended to be a Muslim and an intern apparently took as many documents from the organization as he could during his time there, and discovered that the lobbying group intends to do "ordinary lobbying work on Capitol Hill." When Myrick, Shadegg, Broun, and Franks released an internal CAIR "strategy" document yesterday, they unveiled "a fairly straight forward public relations and lobbying strategy."

Media Matters has more context. Think Progress has details on the criminal aspect of it all:

Now, CAIR has filed a criminal complaint against the authors of the book, alleging that the memo they are using to attack CAIR was stolen. Indeed, Sperry was interviewed by Radio America yesterday and admitted that the planted intern “collected whole boxes of evidence marked for shredding” and took documents that “he felt he needed to preserve as evidence [of illegal wrongdoing].” ...

According to DC law, the authors could be guilty of conspiracy to commit theft with a “bias-related crime” specification, meaning that they could face up to 15 years in prison if the stolen document is deemed to have a value of $250 or more, or only 270 days if it is deemed to have less value.

Glenn Greenwald has more.

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