A former federal investigator enlists his son to infiltrate a Muslim front in the nation’s capital that had routinely collaborated with the White House and federal law-enforcement agencies as a “civil rights” group.
The daring undercover operation results in the capture of 12,000 pages of incriminating internal documents along with audio and video recordings, attracting the interest of the FBI and congressional investigators.
The evidence is compiled in one volume that draws the praise of a member of Congress who declares: “Now we have proof – from the secret documents that this investigative team has uncovered, coupled with the ones recently declassified by the FBI – that [radical Islamic] agents living among us have a plan in place, and they are successfully carrying out that subversive plan.”But the Muslim front group, funded by wealthy Saudi donors and other foreign sources, files a lawsuit against the investigators, charging its “reputation” was damaged. Lacking any grounds to rebut the overwhelming evidence that it actually is a Muslim Brotherhood front, the group amends it complaint then prolongs the case through frivolous motions until finally, after eight years, a trial is set to be scheduled.
While it might sound like a Hollywood script, it’s the true story of a WND Books co-author and his son who have been sued by the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations in a case that has moved to a trial likely to begin this fall in the nation’s capital.
CAIR filed suit in 2009 against former Air Force special agent David Gaubatz and his son, Chris Gaubatz, after their findings were published in “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America.“
Serving as an intern, Chris Gaubatz gathered some 12,000 pages of documents that were headed for a shredder at CAIR’s national office in Washington, just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol building. The information published in “Muslim Mafia,” co-authored by David Gaubatz and investigative journalist Paul Sperry, demonstrated CAIR’s connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that spawned al-Qaida and Hamas and stated in writing its intent to put America under Islamic law and the authority of the Quran.
In the lawsuit, however, CAIR has never defended itself against the book’s claims.
The release of the book was kicked off with a Capitol Hill press conference in which several members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus cited the research in the book as a national security concern.
It was then-Republican Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina who hailed the book as proof of a “subversive plan” by the Muslim Brotherhood to, in the words of a Brotherhood document submitted in a terror-funding trial in which CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator, “destroy Western Civilization from within.”
CAIR’s motions in the “Muslim Mafia” case showed its aim was to squelch any further distribution of the documents and instill fear of the book among any potentially curious reporters.
Meanwhile, as attorneys representing the Gaubatzes were preparing to honor a court order to return documents obtained during operation, FBI agents served a warrant on a Washington, D.C., law office for the same documents, suggesting the agency wanted to see the papers and examine the recordings as part of its interest in CAIR and its Hamas terrorist links.
To defend its author, WND Books hired, among others, famed First Amendment defense attorney Martin Garbus, known for the Pentagon Papers case, and Daniel Horowitz, known for his high-profile clients and legal commentary on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.
The legal team soon demonstrated that CAIR did not even legally exist as the Washington, D.C., corporation it claimed to be, operating a corporate “shell game,” forcing CAIR to refile its lawsuit.
The FBI already had cut off ties to CAIR in January 2009 after the group was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case in Texas, the largest terrorism-finance case in U.S. history.
More than a dozen CAIR leaders have been charged or convicted of terrorism-related crimes.
FBI wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case showed CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad was at an October 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in Philadelphia. CAIR, according to the evidence, was born out of a need to give a “media twinkle” to the Muslim leaders’ agenda of supporting violent jihad abroad while slowly institutionalizing Islamic law in the U.S.
A federal judge later determined that the Justice Department provided “ample evidence” to designate CAIR as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, affirming the Muslim group had been involved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas.”
In addition, CAIR leaders have made statements affirming the aim of establishing Islamic rule in the United States.
The Islamic organization long had accused WND and others of “smearing” the Muslim group by citing a newspaper account of CAIR founder Omar Ahmad telling Muslims in Northern California in 1998 that they were in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam’s rule over the country. But WND caught CAIR falsely claiming that it had contacted the paper and had “sought a retraction,” insisting Ahmad never made the statement. Three years later, the issue arose again, and WND found CAIR still had not contacted the paper.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper also has expressed a desire to replace the U.S. system of government with an Islamic state.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper said in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
Horowitz told WND on Wednesday that despite being named by the United States as a co-conspirator to Hamas and being designated a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, CAIR “continues to hijack the media, acting like they are a Muslim civil rights group.”
“They filed this case in a jurisdiction very favorable to their group, and if they win, they will use the case to prove to the world that they are a legitimate group that represents American Muslims,” he said. “If we win, they will be unmasked in a very public way.”
Horowitz explained that the case has gone on so long because CAIR has hid under different corporate names “to obscure a lot of their wrongdoing.”
“We had to petition the court to tie them down to their real identity,” he said.
Also, Horowitz noted that the court shot down CAIR’s claim that its reputation was damaged by an undercover investigation that alleged it was a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Horowitz has insisted that “exposing CAIR as a criminal organization does not give them the right to sue for being exposed in that manner.”
“The case is a vendetta by CAIR against people who exposed their Muslim Brotherhood connection,” he told WND in 2015. “They seem have unlimited foreign money, but we have an unlimited will to resist.”
Horowitz said Wednesday that CAIR’s tactics to prolong the case have included not cooperating with court orders to meet and confer.
“They have filed vicious personal attacks, once accusing me of being Islamophobic because I was ‘David Horowitz,’” he said, referring to the widely cited conservative writer and activist who founded the think tank the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Horowitz said that at the trial, he expects to see complete exposure of CAIR’s founding by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Evidence, he said, will trace CAIR’s support for radical jihadists and its donations from foreign entities.
While CAIR repeatedly has denied it receives foreign support, the covert operation that produced “Muslim Mafia” obtained video footage that captured CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper boasting of his ability to bring in a half million dollars of “overseas money,” including from Saudi Arabia.
The trial also will spotlight CAIR’s post-9/11 solicitations of funds for 9/11 victims that actually went to Hamas-based groups, and its subversion of the FBI and law enforcement, employing, he said, “the Muslim civil rights persona the way a wolf wears sheep’s clothing.”
Horowitz cautioned that while CAIR doesn’t have a case, the Saudi-funded group “can chill the First Amendment by making it so expensive to speak against them that no one can challenge them.”
He warned that WND must continue to be vigilant: “In the end, CAIR can just keep getting more and more money from overseas and burn out opposition with lawsuits.”
Legal fees paid by WND, besides those paid for by insurance, total hundreds of thousands of dollars before the the trial.
“WND has carried the burden of these costs not because it is a party named in the lawsuit,” explained Joseph Farah, founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND.
“Instead, we have done so because no one else stepped forward to do so – to defend the Gaubatzes personally, to take the fight to the Muslim Brotherhood front group CAIR, to defend any attacks CAIR might direct toward the integrity of our book, “Muslim Mafia,” and, more generally, to stand up for the First Amendment.”
Along with Horowitz, WND has hired the legendary First Amendment lawyer Garbus, who has represented the likes of Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela and Andrei Sakharov.
Garbus, who has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court along with trial and appellate courts in more than 100 cases, told WND in 2010 he sees the “Muslim Mafia” case as a “continuation of a struggle being carried out throughout the world” to guard freedom of speech.
“I think a book has a right to be out there, and any attempt to stop the book, I think, would be violating the First Amendment,” he said.
Garbus has been in the thick of numerous groundbreaking and highly controversial First Amendment cases over the past five decades, from Daniel Ellsberg’s battle over the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War and Lenny Bruce’s famous obscenity charges to radio host Don Imus’ lawsuit against CBS after he was fired for his remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
Other clients have included activist Cesar Chavez, actor Robert Redford, actor Al Pacino, director Spike Lee, writer Samuel Beckett and Czech playwright Vaclav Havel. Later, when Havel became president of the Czech Republic, Garbus was invited to help write the nation’s constitution.
One of his many seminal cases was Ashton v. Kentucky, in which the Supreme Court ruled in 1966 that libel could no longer be criminally prosecuted.
Garbus believes Americans have an interest in exposure of the CAIR documents, because they are relevant to federal law enforcement officials’ concerns about the group’s ties to terrorist operatives that threaten the nation’s security.
Garbus has said the Gaubatz lawsuit has similarities to his defense of legal author and CNN commentator Jeffrey Toobin, who allegedly violated a confidentiality agreement with Iran-Contra investigator Lawrence E. Walsh in the early 1990s when he published a book about his experience as a member of the prosecution team. Garbus won the case on First Amendment grounds.
‘This book will shake you’
The highlights of “Muslim Mafia” include:
- New evidence that CAIR was launched to support the Hamas terrorist group and has transferred tens of thousands of dollars to a group convicted as Hamas’ top fundraising arm in the U.S. – money that ended up aiding terrorist attacks on Israelis and Americans;
- Internal documents showing CAIR, despite claims of cooperating with law enforcement, actively works behind the scenes to mislead and deceive the FBI on behalf of terrorism suspects – and has even cultivated Muslim moles inside law enforcement who have tipped off FBI terror targets;
- CAIR is more closely tied to al-Qaida than previously reported;
- CAIR claims to represent all Muslim Americans; however, it has victimized some 100 indigent Muslims in a massive fraud and threatened them when they tried to go to the media; and internally, personnel complaints reveal CAIR discriminates against Shiite Muslims and Muslim women within its own headquarters;
- CAIR and its sister fronts are funded by foreign Muslim Brotherhood sources;
- CAIR leaders share the Muslim Brotherhood’s ultimate goal to replace the U.S. Constitution with Shariah law:
- The Muslim Brotherhood investment in corporate America will be used to pressure U.S. companies into compliance with Islamic principles.
The book has been praised by retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, former U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, who has played a role in almost every recent major American military operation, serving in Grenada, Somalia and Iraq.
“There’s a recent book that came out called ‘Muslim Mafia,’” he told a conference in 2010.
“Have any of you read this? Have any of you ever seen it? I encourage you to get this book – ‘Muslim Mafia.’ … This book will scare you. This book will open your eyes. This book will shake you. What this book says is frightening,”
Rogues gallery of terror-tied CAIR leaders
As former FBI agent Mike Rolf acknowledges in “Muslim Mafia,” “CAIR has had a number of people in positions of power within the organization that have been directly connected to terrorism and have either been prosecuted or thrown out of the country.” According to another FBI veteran familiar with cases involving CAIR officials, “Their offices have been a turnstile for terrorists and their supporters.”
The list includes:
FBI agents arresting Ghassan Elashi in 2002.
- Ghassan Elashi: One of CAIR’s founding directors, he was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping high-tech goods to terror state Syria and is serving 80 months in prison. He was also convicted of providing material support to Hamas in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial. He was chairman of the charity, which provided seed capital to CAIR. Elashi is related to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.
- Muthanna al-Hanooti: The CAIR director’s home was raided in 2006 by FBI agents in connection with an active terrorism investigation. Agents also searched the offices of his advocacy group, Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, which al-Hanooti operates out of Dearborn, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. Al-Hanooti, who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq, formerly helped run a suspected Hamas terror front called LIFE for Relief and Development. Its Michigan offices also were raided in September 2006. In 2004, LIFE’s Baghdad office was raided by U.S. troops, who seized files and computers. Al-Hanooti is related to Sheik Mohammed al-Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
“Al-Hanooti collected over $6 million for support of Hamas,” according to a 2001 FBI report, and was present with CAIR and Holy Land officials at a secret Hamas fundraising summit held in 1993 at a Philadelphia hotel. Prosecutors added his name to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.
Although Al-Hanooti denies supporting Hamas, he has praised Palestinian suicide bombers as “martyrs” who are “alive in the eyes of Allah.”
- Abdurahman Alamoudi: Another CAIR director, he is serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism. Alamoudi, who was caught on tape complaining that bin Laden hadn’t killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was one of al-Qaida’s top fundraisers in America, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
- Siraj Wahhaj: A member of CAIR’s board of advisers, Wahhaj was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The radical Brooklyn imam was close to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and defended him during his trial.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj
“Muslim Mafia,” citing co-author’s Sperry’s previous book “Infiltration” as well as terror expert Steven Emerson’s research, reports that Wahhaj, a black convert to Islam, is converting gang members to Islam and holding “jihad camps” for them. With a combination of Islam and Uzis, he has said, the street thugs will be a powerful force for Islam the day America “will crumble.”
Wahhaj was a key speaker at CAIR’s 15th annual fund-raising banquet in Arlington, Virginia, in 2009.
- Randall “Ismail” Royer: The former CAIR communications specialist and civil-rights coordinator is serving 20 years in prison in connection with the Virginia Jihad Network, which he led while employed by CAIR at its Washington headquarters. The group trained to kill U.S. soldiers overseas, cased the FBI headquarters and cheered the space shuttle Columbia tragedy. Al-Qaida operative Ahmed Abu Ali, convicted of plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush, was among those who trained with Royer’s Northern Virginia cell.
- Bassam Khafagi: Another CAIR official, Khafagi was arrested in 2003 while serving as CAIR’s director of community affairs. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank and visa fraud stemming from a federal counter-terror probe of his leadership role in the Islamic Assembly of North America, which has supported al-Qaida and advocated suicide attacks on America. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and deported to his native Egypt.
- Laura Jaghlit: A civil-rights coordinator for CAIR, her Washington-area home was raided by federal agents after 9/11 as part of an investigation into terrorist financing, money laundering and tax fraud. Her husband Mohammed Jaghlit, a key leader in the Saudi-backed SAAR network, is a target of the still-active probe. Jaghlit sent two letters accompanying donations – one for $10,000, the other for $5,000 – from the SAAR Foundation to Sami al-Arian, now a convicted terrorist. In each letter, according to a federal affidavit, “Jaghlit instructed al-Arian not to disclose the contribution publicly or to the media. “Investigators suspect the funds were intended for Palestinian terrorists via a U.S. front called WISE, which at the time employed an official who personally delivered a satellite phone battery to Osama bin Laden. The same official also worked for Jaghlit’s group. In addition, Jaghlit donated a total of $37,200 to the Holy Land Foundation, which prosecutors say is a Hamas front. Jaghlit subsequently was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.
- Nihad Awad: Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case puts CAIR’s executive director at the Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in 1993 that was secretly recorded by the FBI. Participants hatched a plot to disguise payments to Hamas terrorists as charitable giving. During the meeting, according to FBI transcripts, Awad was recorded discussing the propaganda effort. He mentions Ghassan Dahduli, whom he worked with at the time at the Islamic Association for Palestine, another Hamas front. Both were IAP officers. Dahduli’s name also was listed in the address book of bin Laden’s personal secretary, Wadi al-Hage, who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the U.S. embassy bombings. Dahduli, an ethnic-Palestinian like Awad, was deported to Jordan after 9/11 for refusing to cooperate in the terror investigation. (An April 28, 2009, letter from FBI assistant director Richard C. Powers to Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. – which singles out CAIR chief Awad for suspicion – explains how the group’s many Hamas connections caused the FBI to sever ties with CAIR.) Awad’s and Dahduli’s phone numbers are listed in a Muslim Brotherhood document seized by federal investigators revealing “important phone numbers” for the “Palestine Section” of the Brotherhood in America. The court exhibit showed Hamas fugitive Mousa Abu Marzook listed on the same page with Awad.
- Omar Ahmad: U.S. prosecutors also named CAIR’s founder and chairman emeritus as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. Ahmad, too, was placed at the Philadelphia meeting, FBI special agent Lara Burns testified at the trial. Prosecutors also designated him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee” in America. Ahmad, like his CAIR partner Awad, is ethnic-Palestinian. (Though both Ahmad and Awad were senior leaders of IAP, the Hamas front, neither of their biographical sketches posted on CAIR’s website mentions their IAP past.)
- Nabil Sadoun: A CAIR board member, Sadoun has served on the board of the United Association for Studies and Research, which investigators believe to be a key Hamas front in America. In fact, Sadoun co-founded UASR with Hamas leader Marzook. The Justice Department added UASR to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case. In 2010, Sadoun was ordered deported to his native Jordan. An immigration judge referenced Sadoun’s relationship with Hamas and the Holy Land Foundation during a deportation hearing.
- Mohamed Nimer: CAIR’s research director also served as a board director for UASR, the strategic arm for Hamas in the U.S. CAIR neglects to mention Nimer’s and Sadoun’s roles in UASR in their bios.
- Rafeeq Jaber: A founding director of CAIR, Jaber was the long-time president of the Islamic Association for Palestine. In 2002, a federal judge found that “the Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas.” In his capacity as IAP chief, Jaber praised Hezbollah attacks on Israel. He also served on the board of a radical mosque in the Chicago area.
- Rabith Hadid: The CAIR fundraiser was a founder of the Global Relief Foundation, which after 9/11 was blacklisted by the Treasury Department for financing al-Qaida and other terror groups. Its assets were frozen in December 2001. Hadid was arrested on terror-related charges and deported to Lebanon in 2003.
- Hamza Yusuf: The FBI investigated the CAIR board member after 9/11, because just two days before the attacks, he made an ominous prediction to a Muslim audience. “This country is facing a terrible fate, and the reason for that is because this country stands condemned,” Yusuf warned. “It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did. And lest people forget, Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands.”