Right-Wing House Members Claim Vast Intern Islamo-Conspiracy?!

The ugly intersection of paranoia, bigotry and McCarthyism.

THE UGLY INTERSECTION OF PARANOIA, BIGOTRY, AND MCCARTHYISM.... It's almost as if right-wing House members want to be made fun of.

Republican members of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus said the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) have tried to plant "spies" within key national-security committees in order to shape legislative policy.

Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), citing the book Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America, called for the House sergeant at arms to investigate whether CAIR had been successful in placing interns on key panels. The lawmakers are specifically focused on the House Homeland Security Committee, Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee.

"If an organization is connected to or supports terrorists [and] is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices, I think this needs to be made known," said Broun, who sits on the Homeland Security Committee. "So I join my colleagues here today in calling for action."

It's as if they're handing out crazy pills in the cloak room.

The book Myrick, Shadegg, Broun, and Franks are relying on was published by WorldNetDaily, a radical fringe website that recently "reported" that the Obama administration is considering Nazi-like concentration camps for dissidents.

The book's co-author's son pretended to be Muslim to infiltrate the not-so-nefarious organization as an apparent intern. (Put another way, "the dastardly plot to plant Muslim interns as spies on the Hill was uncovered by an intern acting as a spy.") The book's co-author's son alleges that CAIR -- an entirely legitimate, mainstream advocacy group, that is not "connected to" terrorists -- is secretly plotting, using fake interns as pawns in some elaborate scheme.


Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
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