U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff is distancing himself from a letter signed by him and six other House Democrats last week urging Attorney General Eric Holder to meet with radical Islamist groups to hear their grievances toward law enforcement.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reported on the letter Tuesday. After reading the story, Schiff's office contacted the IPT to say his name should not have been included and forwarded a letter Schiff sent to Holder saying the same thing.
The letter cited the FBI's use of informants who go into mosques as part of counter-terrorism investigations and complaints of religious profiling related to an investigation of young Somali Muslim men who have disappeared from the Minneapolis area and may have returned to Africa to wage jihad with the al-Shabab terrorist group. The concerns "raise legitimate questions about due process, justice, and equal treatment under the law," the letter said.
However, it remains unclear how Schiff's name and signature appeared on the letter in the first place. An aide to the Burbank Democrat said a Sanchez staffer brought the letter to their office and said Schiff approved of having his signature added to it. The staffers did not check with Schiff.
The aide could not say why Sanchez's staff had the impression Schiff was on board with the letter or whether Schiff was part of any earlier draft or discussion.
The aide also said he did not know whether Schiff agreed or disagreed with the letter's message. Schiff, he said, "still hasn't seen the letter" even though it was linked off the original IPT story that Schiff apparently read. The Congressman, a former federal prosecutor, asked that his name be removed out of principle because he had not authorized its use, the aide said, regardless of the content.
The IPT asked to speak to Schiff directly, but that was denied.