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Cravaack tangles with L.A. sheriff at Muslim hearing

Freshman Congressman Chip Cravaack from Minnesota's 8th District took on Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca at Thursday's Muslim hearings in Washington and implied that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is, basically, a terrorist organization that might be using the sheriff.

"Basically, you're dealing with a terrorist organization, I'm trying to get you to try to understand that they might be using you, sir, to implement their goals," Cravaack said.

A Talking Points Memo item notes the sheriff's response:

"It sounds more like a possible accusation, of me being misused by an organization ... Let me answer this way, if the FBI has something to charge CAIR with, bring those charges forward and try them in court and deal with it that way.

"There is a reality that in my culture as a police officer that you have facts and you have a crime, deal with it.

"We don't play around with criminals in my world. If CAIR is an organization that's a, quote, 'criminal organization,' prosecute them, hold them accountable, and bring them to trial."

Another Minnesota Congressman,  Keith Ellison, a Muslim, broke down in tears while testifying at the hearings about a young Muslim-American who was killed in the 9/11 terror attacks. Ellison says the hearings unfairly target the Muslim-American community.

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Comments (7)

Cravaack reminds me of the Mccarthy-era hearings. Do you know this person? Did you know they attended meetings in the prior decade? Doesn't that make them responsible for all the bad things done by other people there? All we're missing is an insistence on naming names and "Are you now or have you ever been a communist?" Oops, "jihadist", sorry.

Isn't it CAIR's policy to be uncoperative with the FBI?

Chip Cravaak showed his true colors yesterday. He assumed the old Bush Administration ability to misunderstand almost any situation and try to make policy based on his complete ignorance. This hearing had no point but to create terrorists out of domestic Muslim organizations and publicity for King and the republicans. Cravaak's intellect is overwhelmed by his rush to embrace the bigotry of Michelle Bachmann and Representative King. That hearing was a shameful demonstration of Republican intolerance. They have added Muslims now to their list of non-real Americans joining gays and lesbians, immigrants, liberals, non-christians, African Americans, public workers, union members and poor people. Pretty soon they will simply blacklist themselves as non-electable. They are on the wrong demographic side of almost every issue.

Being in Congress just isn't that great a job.

"Cravaack reminds me of the Mccarthy-era hearings."

Guilt by association is making a comeback, and the reason is because it's so politically effective. For one thing, it's so easy to do. So many of us have been in a room at least once with somebody to whom we would not exactly like to be linked publicly. If you were involved in education reform issues in Chicago at a high level, sooner or later you would be working with Bill Ayers. If you are a governor of a state, sooner or later a picture will emerge of you being embraced by a president who might later become unpopular. Make the picture black and white and grainy, and add some creepy sounding electronic music and you have a powerful campaign ad ready to go.

I have a prejudice here. I like people who have been involved in the hurly burly of life People who haven't from birth conducted their lives in preparation for a Supreme Court nomination hearing. I prefer a Barack Obama who got involved in controversial issues, to a John Robert who devoted his life to building a brilliant resume which is somehow devoid of any actual accomplishment.

Tom A (#2)

I believe it is CAIR's policy to be cooperative with the FBI. Muslims have led the FBI to many suspected terrorists over the past several years.

Meanwhile, I don't see any far-right Christian fundamentalists letting the FBI know that heavily armed and hate-filled militias are training in the woods in anticipation of pulling off another Oklahoma City.

If you think you are a target of investigation "cooperation" can become a very dicey matter. It can be perfectly legitimate, and appropriate to withhold some degree of cooperation. The FBI has a long history of abusing suspects and collecting evidence under the guise of "just wanting to talk to you". Once you start answering questions you can end up in deep water very quickly.

Furthermore, I'd like to know exactly what the nature of alleged non-cooperation is? The FBI may classify it for instance as refusal to turn over a membership list or data base without a court order. Or let's say some FBI agents show up at your house to interview you, and ask if they can take a look around your house.. frankly you shouldn't let them do that. I know what you going to say- if you nothing to hide... but things that seem irrelevant or innocuous to you can look very different to an FBI agent, and an interview can turn into an arrest or detention if they see something they think is suspicious. Anyways, if you say "no" they may classify you as being non-cooperative. They don't have to tell you that YOU are the target of their investigation, and while it against the law for you to lie to them, it's perfectly legal for them to lie to you. And of course law enforcement understands the perceptions created by the non-cooperative label and are not averse to using it as a public relations weapon. These are very different situations than most people have experience with, it's not like telling a cop what you saw when a guy robbed a store or crashed a car or something. I'd be very careful drawing any conclusions in these situations from accusations of non-cooperation.