Former FBI agent John Guandolo is planning to be in Denver, Colo., this week for three training sessions for law enforcement, legislators, clergy and members of the general public –– all guaranteed to understand the skills to “combat” the jihadi threat “at the local level.”
But if Guandolo’s previous comments on Islam and strong ties to anti-Muslim groups are any indication, the trainings are sure to be steeped in conjured worries and fear mongering anti-Muslim rhetoric. Let’s remember, Guandolo once claimed American Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”
Billed as “Understanding the Threat” and “A One-Of-A-Kind Training Event,” Guandolo plans to host the trainings at the Centennial Gun Club to be held Aug. 13-15.
Since his dismissal from the FBI for a number of ethical breaches and bizarre conduct, Guandolo has devoted himself to a rabid brand of anti-Muslim activism, working closely with some of the most powerful and influential anti-Muslim groups in the U.S., on what has amounted to a flurry of accusations against government officials Guandolo says have ties to terrorist organizations.
In his spare time, Guandolo works closely with ACT! for America, the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the country. He helped the group build “The Thin Blue Line Project,” billed as a “one-stop internet resource for information concerning the perceived threat of Muslim infiltration and terrorism in the country.”
Its key component is a “Radicalization Map Locator,” listing the addresses of every Muslim Student Association (MSA) in the country as well as a number of mosques and Islamic institutions– all listed as suspected national security concerns. Just this year, Guandolo told a crowd in South Carolina that the sole purpose of MSA’s is to “recruit jihadis” – many in the anti-Muslim movement claim MSA’s are a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. In short, the “Thin Blue Line” project identifies targets for law enforcement and government agencies to monitor.
Law enforcement agencies have gone too far in monitoring Muslims before.
In 2012, the Associated Press revealed that the New York Police Department had built an aggressive domestic intelligence program after the Sept. 11 attacks that put Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups under scrutiny, usually without probable cause. The AP documented the NYPD’s systematic effort to spy on Muslim neighborhoods, listen in on sermons, infiltrate colleges and photograph law-abiding residents. Two years later, the NYPD disbanded the unit.
There are others on the anti-Muslim right that Guandolo enjoys close relationships as well, including with Frank Gaffney, head of the anti-Muslim group Center for Security Policy. During the Q&A session at the 2015 Western Conservative Summit in Denver, an attendee asked Gaffney to comment on “Somali colonies” working in meatpacking plants in Colorado. Gaffney responded to the question by stating, “I don’t know about you, but it kind of creeps me out that they are getting jobs in the food supply of the United States.” Earlier in 2015, Gaffney invited Guandolo to speak about radical Islam at a National Security Action Summit in South Carolina. In 2007, CSP awarded Guandolo its “Defenders of the Home Front” award.
His ties go deeper, too. Guandolo has been a guest on an anti-Muslim radio show hosted by Tom Trento, founder of the hate group The United West. During one interview in 2013, Guandolo claimed John Brenan the current director of the CIA, had “interwoven his life professionally and personally with individuals that we know are terrorist and he has given them access” to top officials in the federal government and “brought known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood leaders into the government and into advisory positions.”
Also in 2013, Guandolo spoke at the Social Contract Press (TSCP) Writers Workshop event in Washington, D.C. on the topic of “The Islamist Threat to Homeland Security.” TSCP was founded by white nationalist John Tanton, the founder of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement. TSCP’s publication, The Social Contract regularly publishes pieces by white nationalists and has called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S.
Guandolo’s history of anti-Muslim statements and associations with anti-Muslim groups clearly indicates that his trainings on the “threat” of radical Islam are biased. The fact that Guandolo is still able to train law enforcement following his disgraced exit from the FBI is also troubling. Law enforcement, elected officials and clergy in the Denver area would do well to avoid his course later this week.