October 22, 2010
Fox News Network
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. O’Reilly:
I write to alert you to a possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in which National Public Radio (NPR) and Fox contributor Juan Williams were apparently the target of a foreign influence operation. On October 18 edition of “The O’Reilly Factor” Williams stated, “I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.” Two days later on October 20, CAIR issued a press release calling on NPR to take action against Juan Williams. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad called his comments “irresponsible and inflammatory” and complained that “media commentators who launch rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims normally do not suffer the professional consequences.” NPR terminated Williams’ contract the following day, October 21.
FARA is a disclosure statute that requires entities acting in the United States as agents of foreign principals in a political capacity to register and to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship.
Specifically, FARA § 611 (o) states that foreign agents who engage in any activity to “influence any agency or official of the Government of the United States or any section of the public within the United States” must register as a foreign agent and report such activity to the Department of Justice. At the CAIRObservatory.org website (http://www.cairobservatory.org), we provide documentation showing CAIR has met and coordinated with representatives of foreign principals on more than 40 occasions and engaged in over 100 political influence operations on their behalf. CAIR has failed to report these influence operations.
In addition, FARA § 612 (a) (5) requires that a foreign agent report “the nature and amount of contributions, income, money, or thing of value” that they receive from foreign principals. At the CAIRObservatory.org website we provide documentation showing that CAIR has received more than $6.6 million in cash and loans and more than $50 million in pledges from foreign principals based in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. CAIR has failed to report these payments.
FARA § 618 (a) also states that any foreign agent who willfully violates any provision of the law may be “punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.” Complete information on these and other aspects of the FARA code can be found at the Department of Justice website (http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fara/).
It is our opinion that the evidence showing that CAIR should register as a foreign agent is conclusive. Hundreds of Americans including elected officials, community groups, corporations and private citizens have been – and continue to be – targeted by CAIR. CAIR continues to deny these facts, but as John Adams famously wrote: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
The fact is that CAIR has a long history of trouble with the law. CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, the largest terrorism finance trial in America’s history. Four CAIR leaders have been convicted of felonies including terrorism. Only 1% of CAIR’s latest reported revenues actually came from Muslim-American membership dues. According to the February 2, 2010 edition of the news website Politico.com, “A grand jury that subpoenaed documents relating to the Council on American-Islamic Relations is investigating possible violations of federal laws barring financial transactions with terrorist groups and countries subject to U.S. sanctions, according to a new court filing.” And on October 4, 2010 a D.C. District Court judge denied a motion to dismiss federal fraud complaints against CAIR by African American and Pakistani-American Muslims. That case therefore is now proceeding against CAIR.
We have concluded on the basis of this evidence that CAIR’s influence operations appear to be designed to intimidate all Americans, including Muslim Americans, in ways that endanger the First Amendment and national security. CAIR attempts to silence anyone opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood’s insinuation of Shariah – the totalitarian doctrine of authoritative Islamic law – into the United States. CAIR pursues this mission with a relentless program of accusations of bias, racism and “Islamophobia.” We urge you to join us in opposing these political influence operations funded by foreign principals.
The interests of the American people can be served only if CAIR follows the law, registers as a foreign agent with the FARA office, and reports all political and public propaganda initiatives. We ask you to request that the FARA Unit investigate CAIR’s attempted influence operation to pressure NPR and Juan Williams on behalf of foreign principals. The FARA Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Section (CES) is located in the National Security Division (NSD) of the Department of Justice (1400 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 100, Washington, D.C. 20005).
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
President & CEO
Letter to Foreign Agents Registration Unit
CAIR’s October 20, 2010 Press Release
Center for Security Policy’s October 21, 2010 Press Release