Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Change your name. Grow a beard and learn the ways of Islam. Present yourself at the Council on American Islamic Relations. Acquire an internship. Wear a wire. Take whatever isn’t bolted down.
That’s the mission Chris Gaubatz accepted last year. And Gaubatz, who sells insurance for a living, told TPMmuckraker in an email interview that he never once felt guilty during the six months as a Muslim intern spy and that, well, some of the CAIR folks were pretty darn nice, despite any terrorist sympathies.
His father co-authored the new book Muslim Mafia based on the allegedly incriminating documents Chris took. Citing the documents, four House Republicans have charged that CAIR dispatched Muslim intern spies to key national security committees, calling for authorities to investigate.
“They were nice people and I got along with them very well which is why I was able to retrieve the information I did,” Gaubatz says. “But just because somebody is outwardly friendly doesn’t mean they can’t be doing something wrong or even harming National Security.”
Gaubatz, whose father coordinated the project, says he’s unbowed by CAIR’s charge that he stole documents.
And asked about his father’s statement that Barack Obama is Muslim, Gaubatz responded, “Obama’s religious affiliation has nothing to do with my reasoning for gathering information on the organization.”
Here’s the full interview (edited for clarity):
Q: How did you decide to go undercover for CAIR?
A: I was approached by my father for the project who was a special agent for the Air Force for 15 years with top secret clearance. My dad asked for my help because, as with any investigative project,he needed someone to go inside the organization that he trusted to follow directions.
Q: Did you ever come close to having your cover blown?
A: Only once did I almost have my cover blown, which is documented in the introduction of Muslim Mafia. For the entire six months, I wore a button camera on my shirt, but at the beginning of my internship the button-cam popped off. I was sitting in the middle of about 30-40 other CAIR employees at a conference on how to deal strategically with the media. One of the other researchers happened to be with me and noticed the camera was gone. I acted like I was coughing, and slipped out to replace the camera.
Q: Did you ever feel guilty?
A: Not at all.
Q: Did you find any nice people at CAIR?
A: They were nice people and I got along with them very well which is why I was able to retrieve the information I did, but just because somebody is outwardly friendly doesn’t mean they can’t be doing something wrong or even harming National Security.
Q: How do you respond to the charges by CAIR that you stole documents?
A: The entire project was coordinated by my father, who has more than 20 years of investigative experience and who further coordinated with attorneys, law enforcement and members of the government throughout the process to make sure we were following legal guidelines. I was preserving evidence that CAIR asked me to destroy. To go along with their destruction would have been against both state and federal law. Also, CAIR’s leaders gave me full authority to handle those documents they were throwing away. Having worked inside CAIR—as un unpaid intern, by the way—I know firsthand that their statements are intimidation tactics, and since we have the truth on our side, its easy for me to call their bluff and not worry about their allegations.
Q: Do you agree with your father’s charge that Obama is a Muslim?
A: Obama’s religious affiliation has nothing to do with my reasoning for gathering information on the organization.