Delays will only embolden the imaginary spies

DELAYS WILL ONLY EMBOLDEN THE IMAGINARY SPIES…. Last week, Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) made quite a splash. Relying on a strange book published by a fringe website, the four right-wing lawmakers called on the House Sergeant at Arms to start looking for Muslim “spies” on congressional committees.

The lawmakers apparently believe the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an entirely legitimate, mainstream advocacy group, has tried to place interns on key panels, including the House Homeland Security Committee, Intelligence Committee, and Judiciary Committee. What would the interns do that warrants investigation? The collective genius of Myrick, Shadegg, Broun, and Franks was a little vague on this point, but they’re confident the “spies” are up to no good.

Do the four know of any intern/spies CAIR has sent to Capitol Hill? Well, not really, but they heard about it in some conspiracy book and want the Sergeant at Arms to look into it anyway.

As Franks put it at a press conference, “We live in a post-9/11 world where the coincidence of nuclear proliferation and Islamic terrorism pose a very dangerous combination and real threat to America’s national security…. I take the charges levied against CAIR and laid out in this book very seriously because they affect our national security.”

So, did these four go running to the Sergeant at Arms to launch a witch hunt? No, it seems the lawmakers aren’t in a rush.

Four Republican lawmakers have not submitted a request to the House sergeant at arms to investigate a threat that one of the four described as a terrorist-linked group possibly “running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices.”

A spokesperson for the sergeant at arms told TPMmuckraker this morning that the office was aware of the charge by GOP members at a press conference Wednesday that the Council on American-Islamic Relations planted Muslim intern spies on the Hill for purposes of subversion. But, says spokesperson Kerri Hanley, the office hasn’t received a request for an investigation, and it wouldn’t launch any probe until such a request is made.

“We don’t have any information to form any kind of opinion to decide whether an investigation is warranted,” Hanley says.

Myrick’s office believes the formal request for a probe would be delivered to the Sergeant at Arms eventually, but wouldn’t explain why the lawmakers haven’t acted yet.

Hmm. As far as Myrick, Shadegg, Broun, and Franks are concerned, a dangerous group with terrorist ties has surreptitiously placed covert spies in key congressional posts to shape policy and acquire sensitive information. (None of this is true, of course, but this is what they believe.)

Outraged, they call a press conference and proceed to do … nothing? With American national security on the line, they can’t send an intern to deliver a request for an investigation to the Sergeant at Arms office?

In other words, these far-right lawmakers are paranoid, bigoted, and lazy?