Three United States Senators have written to FBI Director Robert Mueller praising a decision last year to cut off contacts with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and inquiring about other groups linked to a Hamas-support network in the U.S.
Republicans Jon Kyl of Arizona, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and New York Democrat Charles Schumer signed the letter dated Tuesday, which asked Mueller for additional information about the decision.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) broke the news last month that concerns over CAIR's roots in a Hamas-support network prompted FBI leadership to cut off contact with the advocacy group last summer.
In a letter obtained by the IPT, the head of the Oklahoma City field office cancelled a meeting with a group of local Muslim community outreach groups due to CAIR's involvement.
"[I]f CAIR wishes to pursue an outreach relationship with the FBI, certain issues must be addressed to the satisfaction of the FBI. Unfortunately, these issues cannot be addressed at the local level and must be addressed by the CAIR National Office in Washington, D.C.," the Oct. 8 letter from Special Agent in Charge James E. Finch said.
"We certainly support that action," the senators wrote, "and it would be helpful to us to understand the situation more fully." They asked whether the policy applies to FBI field offices as well as headquarters and whether there are exceptions. In addition, they asked whether the FBI has contacts with other organizations listed as un-indicted co-conspirators in the HLF case and whether other federal agencies knew about the Bureau's policy.
"Obviously, we believe this should be government-wide policy," they wrote.
Five House members also noted the FBI policy, sending their colleagues a letter warning them to "think twice before meeting with representatives of CAIR."
Evidence tying CAIR and its founders to the Hamas-support effort was disclosed during the prosecution of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). CAIR and its chairman emeritus, Omar Ahmad, were named un-indicted co-conspirators in the HLF case. Both Ahmad and CAIR's current national executive director, Nihad Awad, were revealed on government wiretaps as having been active participants in early Hamas-related organizational meetings in the United States. During testimony, FBI agent Lara Burns described CAIR as a front organization.
In a press release, Kyl said the senators want to "clarify the FBI's decision-making process and new policy, and help determine if further action by other federal government agencies is necessary."