WASHINGTON — A federal judge has taken the rare step of ordering self-described anti-terrorism investigator Paul David Gaubatz to remove from his Web site some of the 12,000 documents that his son allegedly stole from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly also ordered Gaubatz to return documents used in his book, "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Seeking to Islamize America," which was co-authored by Paul Sperry and portrays the council as a subversive organization that's allied with international terrorists.
The 15-year-old nonprofit civil rights and advocacy organization says its goals are to "enhance understanding of Islam" and "empower American Muslims."
"The record ... supports a finding that defendants have unlawfully obtained access to, and have already caused repeated public disclosure of, material containing CAIR's proprietary, confidential and privileged information," Kollar-Kotelly concluded last week.
The Internet publication ban lasts until Nov. 18, by which time the judge will have held another hearing. Even if it's temporary, though, the restraining order issued last Tuesday is one of the rare occasions when a judge has ordered an author to erase published material.
"It's unusual," Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said Monday, "but I think with the Internet we'll be seeing more of these kinds of cases in the future."
Dalglish added that the judge's publication-restricting order is narrowly written, noting that you "don't usually see situations where they have allegations like this."
Gaubatz said Monday that "the lawsuit was expected," and he questioned whether Council on American-Islamic Relations officials "deny the accuracy of the book or the documents" cited.
"Intimidations, threats and lawsuits are CAIR's basic tactics," Gaubatz said in an e-mail.
Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., calls Gaubatz, an Arabic-speaking former Air Force Office of Special Investigations investigator, a "great American." She furnished a forward for the book and has championed it at Capitol Hill events.
"Now we have proof, from the secret documents that this investigative team has uncovered ... that (radical Islamic) agents living among us have a plan in place, and they are successfully carrying out that plan," Myrick wrote.
In a statement Monday, Myrick added that she's "glad that this matter is getting attention" and said investigations should proceed in multiple directions.
"Let's investigate the claims made by the authors and how they got the material," she said. "And let's investigate and shine some light on CAIR's books, operations and to whom they are connected."
The Web site material includes some 12,000 internal Council on American-Islamic Relations documents spirited away by Gaubatz's son Christopher. The book's authors describe Christopher Gaubatz as "chief field investigator."
In their lawsuit filed late last month in Washington, however, council officials alleged that the Gaubatzes' work is shadier. The pirated documents made public — and which the judge ordered removed — included the names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of council employees and donors.
"Disclosure of a nonprofit corporation's confidential donor list might well lead to a loss of trust and good will if donors begin to feel that their personal information is not safe," Kollar-Kotelly noted, adding that "CAIR's employees have also reported a dramatic increase in the number of threatening communications since the release of Mr. Gaubatz's book."
According to the lawsuit, Christopher Gaubatz sought an intern position with the council last year. Gaubatz grew a beard, identified himself as "David Marshall" and said he was a student, the son of a construction worker and a convert to Islam.
Once hired, Gaubatz/Marshall signed a confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement, and worked as an intern through about August 2008.
Gaubatz removed council documents and printed out e-mails and spreadsheets, according to the lawsuit.
"In addition, (he) made surreptitious audio and video recordings of CAIR officials and employees," the organization's lawyers said.
Monday morning, Paul David Gaubatz's Web site still included some material from the council, including political assessments of several U.S. senators. These apparently aren't covered by the judge's temporary restraining order, which focuses on donor lists and material protected by attorney-client privilege.
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