A lawsuit by the Council on American-Islamic Relations against a father and son who conducted an undercover counter-terrorism investigation of the controversial Muslim group could backfire badly, according to several counter-terrorism experts observing the case.
As WND reported, CAIR claims P. David Gaubatz and his son, Chris Gaubatz, stole sensitive material from the group’s Washington office under false pretenses. But lawyers for the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case this week that contends CAIR has no claim because it does not legally exist.
Just two weeks after CAIR was named by the Justice Department in May 2007 as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist finance case in U.S. history, the organization changed its name to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network, explains attorney Daniel Horowitz in a 34-page brief filed in federal court in the nation’s capital.
Steven Emerson, whose counter-terrorism expertise is relied on by many members of Congress, told WND that based on Horowitz’s work, “it certainly appears that CAIR changed its name due its being named as an unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing case in Texas.
“The Horowitz filing is brilliant in establishing that CAIR does not exist legally and therefore cannot sue,” said Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
“The filing shows unambiguously the legal fraud that CAIR has engaged in.”
CAIR alleges that Chris Gaubatz, who served six months as an unpaid volunteer for CAIR last year, obtained access to the Muslim group’s property under false pretenses, removed internal documents and made recordings of officials and employees “without any consent or authorization and in violation of his contractual, fiduciary and other legal obligations to CAIR.”
But Horowitz, while addressing each of CAIR’s specific claims, asserts in his brief that “CAIR is not a valid entity and even if it were, the exposure of its inner workings is part of the price it pays for being a controversial group in a hotly contested arena.”
Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, scholar and best-selling author of nine books on Islam and jihad, said CAIR, “once such a canny organization, continues to shoot itself in the foot.”
“In attempting damage control on the revelations Chris Gaubatz has made about the unsavory inner workings of the organization, they’ve now caused to be made public the fact that they’re under FBI investigation, and now face a direct challenge to their very existence,” he told WND.
Spencer said it’s “long past time that this cancerous pro-jihad group be shut down, and David and Chris Gaubatz are to be applauded for making that a genuine possibility.”
The FBI stepped into the case Nov. 23 with a warrant to examine the papers and recordings, apparently as part of its concern about CAIR and its terrorist links to Hamas.
The bureau cut off ties to CAIR in January in response to the Islamic group being named an unindicted terror co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case.
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, told WND that if the precedent Horowitz presents in his motion is applicable – the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1971 decision affirming the New York Times’ right to publish the Pentagon Papers – “then CAIR’s attempt to stifle the release of this cache of materials will probably backfire by leading to greater interest in the inner workings of this ‘terrorist-supporting front organization.’”
Pipes said, however, he doesn’t believe the case is “crucial to CAIR’s future.”
“The decisive event for it will likely either be a criminal indictment or an expose by a leading newspaper or television channel,” he said.
Horowitz says if CAIR responds to his brief by filing an amendment to change its registered name back to Council on American Islamic-Relations, he will seek an evidentiary hearing “to establish whether there is a genuine corporate entity that is ‘CAIR’ or whether ‘CAIR’ is a moniker used to represent the activities of a ruling group that oversees (in some way) the operations of other CAIR-related groups.”
The reply to CAIR also contends the Gaubatzes’ actions to expose the group are protected by the First Amendment.
A federal judge in Washington issued a restraining order Nov. 3 barring the Gaubtazes from further use or publication of the material – 12,000 pages of documents along with audio and video recordings – and demanding that they return it to the Muslim group’s lawyers.
The material is featured in the book “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” published by WND Books.
The book, co-authored by David Gaubatz and “Infiltration” author Paul Sperry, asserts CAIR is acting as a front for a conspiracy of the Muslim Brotherhood – the parent of al-Qaida and Hamas – to infiltrate the U.S. and help pave the way for Saudi-style Islamic law to rule the nation.
IMPORTANT NOTE: WND needs your help in supporting the defense of “Muslim Mafia” co-author P. David Gaubatz and his son Chris against CAIR’s ongoing legal attack. Already, the book’s revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can’t do it without your help. Please donate to WND’s Legal Defense Fund now. Thank you.