Holder Says DOJ Still May Mingle with CAIR in Quest to Root Out 'Potential Domestic Violence Adherents'
WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Eric Holder told a House Appropriations subcommittee on Friday that his department doesn't have a "formal relationship" with a controversial Islamic group while a chairman argued that an interpretation of the law has inexplicably tied the Pentagon's hands in nabbing the Benghazi attackers.
At a hearing to review the Justice Department's FY 2015 budget request, Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Chairman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) reminded Holder, the sole witness, that last year the DOJ was "directed to follow the lead of the FBI to keep distance between government officials and individuals or organizations associated with the support of terrorist activities such as the un-indicted co-conspirator Council on American-Islamic Relations."
"Director [James] Comey testified last week that this policy was enforced throughout the FBI. Could you confirm to the committee that such a policy has been implemented throughout the Department of Justice?" Wolf asked.
"There's not, I don't think, a formal policy with regard to our interaction with CAIR in particular. We meet with a number of groups in our attempt to deal with the problem of homegrown radical -- homegrown violence, radicalization. It is not -- we don't have a formal relationship with CAIR," Holder responded.
"I cannot say categorically that we don't have meetings among our various U.S. attorneys offices around the country, when members of that organization might be present. But we don't have any formal relationship with CAIR," he added.
Holder was reminded that his department has received $12 million in appropriations from the committee over the past three years to research domestic radicalization.
"This is something that is a priority for the president. It is one that he asks the national security team about and expects reports on, at least on a monthly -- on a monthly basis. And so we use that money to try to understand how do people get radicalized, what drives otherwise seemingly normal people to take these radical courses and then to come up in ways in which we interact with groups of people, individuals, various communities, and so that there's a counternarrative to people who would go on the Internet and be convinced that there are certain ways of life that they should follow," Holder said.
"Our U.S. attorneys have been very involved in this action. We -- it's one of the charges that I've given to them to get out into the communities and to interact with communities that are at risk so that we reduce the possibility of this -- of these domestic violence, potential domestic violence adherents."
Wolf said it was "amazing" to hear Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, say this week that he removed the word "Islamic" from administration text "because they didn't want to offend anybody when they were doing the briefing on the attack on Benghazi."
Morell's exact words to the House Intelligence Committee: "I did not take out extremists. I took out the word Islamic in front of extremist and I took it out for two reasons. Most importantly I took it out because we were dealing with protests and demonstrations across much of the Muslim world as a result of the video, and the last thing I wanted to do, was to do anything to further inflame those passions. And so, that is why I took the word Islamic out."
"I mean, that is political correctness gone awry, when the CIA is worried and removes the word 'Islamic' on a report where we lose four American citizens," Wolf said. "I think this administration is adrift."