A war of words between U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) escalated Friday when Wolf took to the House floor and spent more than 40 minutes detailing CAIR's ties to terrorists and its habit of attacking critics as Islamophobes.
It started after Wolf wrote to the FBI Feb. 2 seeking more details about the Bureau's decision to cut off contact with CAIR based upon evidence brought forth in the terror-support trial against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. Wolf wanted confirmation that the policy was, in fact, in place, and whether it was subject to change. He also asked about the depth of financial support CAIR received from foreign sources.
After receiving a very general response, Wolf followed up with a second letter demanding more specifics. That prompted CAIR to issue a statement accusing the congressman of having "abused his power." Wolf's inquiries, CAIR claimed, were in retribution for the organization's opposition to Wolf's policies and statements.
Since then, the FBI has offered details, explaining that the HLF evidence left officials unsure whether CAIR "continues" to have a connection to the terrorist group Hamas. Until that is resolved, the Bureau "does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."
In his remarks Friday, Wolf said the FBI was right "and ought to, in fact, inform the actions of other public officials, policymakers, and the press, many of whom consistently, and I would argue mistakenly, look to CAIR to speak for mainstream Muslim Americans."
CAIR's aggressive response to his inquiry was part of "a larger pattern of intimidation undertaken by CAIR" to discredit critics as Islamophobes or otherwise flawed.
Meanwhile, Wolf raised questions about CAIR's foreign financing. He points to two State Department cables from 2006 which challenge the organization's claims that it does not receive foreign funding. The cables summarize fund raising trips to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The CAIR delegation briefs U.S. Embassy officials on millions of dollars they solicited, and in some cases in which they reported securing pledges, from government officials and private groups in those countries.