Virginia Sheriff Retains Bigoted Trainer Despite Criticism
In general, an FBI agent who resigns in disgrace after sleeping with a government witnesses under his protection should not expect much in the way of respect from the law enforcement community.
But that hasn’t turned out to be the case for John Guandolo, a Muslim-basher and conspiracy theorist who left the bureau in 2008 before he could be investigated for misconduct. Despite the ex-agent’s tarnished reputation, Sheriff Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County, Va., sponsored a Feb. 25-27 training run by Guandolo, who claims that the director of the CIA is a double agent for the Saudi government and that American Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”
Numerous progressive and civil rights groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which publishes Intelligence Report, called on Jenkins to withdraw his sponsorship of the training, but the sheriff stood his ground. Downplaying the possibility that Guandolo’s bigotry and conspiracy theorizing could negatively affect trainees’ ability to do their jobs, Jenkins told the Fredericksburg, Va., Free Lance-Star, “We’ve got sense enough not to take anything we might not agree with at face value.”
They’ll have their work cut out for them. Guandolo seemingly believes that only he and a handful of allies understand geopolitics, terrorism, and Islam. At a 2010 training in Columbus, Ohio, he falsely accused Omar al-Omari, a college professor, of having ties to terrorism. He’s since gone after bigger fish, including CIA director John Brennan — who, he claims, has “brought known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government.” President Obama is also accused of having helped with a “significant effort to protect known members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood inside this government.”
In early March, federal prosecutors alleged that Alamance County, N.C., sheriff’s deputies had shared links to a video game whose object was to shoot undocumented immigrants, including pregnant women and children, as they crossed the border. The sheriff, Terry S. Johnson, is accused of illegally singling out Latino drivers, who he reportedly referred to as “taco eaters” with criminal tendencies.
And in late January, following a years-long investigation and 20-day trial, former East Haven, Conn., police officer Dennis Spaulding was sentenced to five years in prison for violating the civil rights of the city’s Latino residents, who he and a group of police companions dubbed “bullies with badges” harassed through wrongful arrests and racial profiling.