Disgraced ex-FBI agent and anti-Islam bigot John Guandolo continues to quaff from the public trough, selling his patented brand of paranoid Muslim-bashing to law enforcement agencies and police associations across the nation.
Next stop for Guandolo is Mesa, Arizona, where for three days this week, he will instruct law enforcement officers on how to find a violent Muslim extremist behind every cactus as part of his seminar “Understanding and Investigating the Jihadi Network,” an event funded by a grant from right-wing Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Officially, the event is sponsored by the Arizona Police Association (APA), an umbrella group of state cop shops, but the Mesa Police Department is playing host to Guandolo’s Islamophobic carny act, allowing the APA to hold the forum at its training facilities.
So far, Mesa PD’s acting police chief Michael Dvorak has resisted fierce pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations to cancel the training developed by Guandolo’s consulting company, Understanding the Threat.
But Dvorak did offer one concession in a recent email to CAIR, promising that, “[T]his will be the last time this specific training will be utilizing our training facilities.”
That’s not enough for CAIR, which is pushing for Dvorak to spike the event, still scheduled for May 16 -18, with a petition on MoveOn.org.
You would think that a widely condemned conspiracy theorist like Guandolo would be persona non grata at any professional police agency in the United States.
After all, Guandolo resigned from the FBI in 2008, before investigators there could question him about a document detailing his affairs with fellow agents and what was later discovered to be a sexual liaison with a confidential informant in the high-profile bribery investigation of ex-Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson.
Per one court document, Guandolo later expressed “deep remorse” to FBI investigators for sleeping with the CI, a move that could have imperiled the case against Jefferson, who was ultimately convicted on several corruption counts in 2009.
Aside from his ethical transgressions, the supposed expert on Islamic extremism apparently doesn’t speak Arabic, the language of the Quran: This, according to one e-mail string uncovered by the Phoenix New Times newspaper last year, where Guandolo states that, “I don’t speak Arabic.”
No Arabic? No problem. Well, at least, it’s no problem for some law enforcement entities willing to waste public RICO dollars on bringing Guandolo to their cities and towns to push his bogus anti-Muslim McCarthyism.
Indeed, Guandolo is not shy about the nature of his crackpot product.
A recent unsigned email blast from Guandolo’s UTT claims Guandolo’s seminar is the only hope for the U.S. in its ongoing “domestic war” against an existential Islamic threat.
According to the diatribe, America’s Mosques and Islamic centers are “organizing for armed confrontation with law-enforcement,” and Muslims are scoping out “churches and other targets” in what amounts to an “enemy” insurgency, requiring Guandolo’s “counter-insurgency strategy” as an antidote.
Given Guandolo’s history of loony pronouncements and his casual smearing of all Muslims, any “strategy” Guandolo might impart could lead to the harassment and racial profiling of minorities who are perceived to be followers of Islam.
“The more Muslims learn about what Islam is,” stated Guandolo in one YouTube video, “the more they wage jihad.”
Talk about a slippery statement. The word “jihad” means “struggle” in Arabic and can have a non-violent, spiritual meaning.
But for Guandolo, it seems as if “jihad” always means “terrorism,” and all Muslims are potential terrorists.
Moreover, Guandolo insists the federal government is riddled with agents of Islam at the highest levels. Along these lines, he once denounced former CIA director John Brennan as a secret convert to Islam.
Regarding freedom of religion and speech, Guandolo argues for an exception in the case of Islam, insisting in one rant that mosques “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”
In a particularly insidious conspiracy theory offered during a 2016 interview, Guandolo warned that Muslims were taking jobs at 7-Elevens and hotels and buying up gas stations, “preparing for a jihad here.”
That same year, he told an interviewer that it would be “exciting” if churches, politicians and reporters could be jailed on federal terrorism charges.
And just this April, Guandolo urged law enforcement to start “locking up” officials at CAIR for “being terrorists.”
CAIR is not alone in earning Guandolo’s ire. Pretty much any group or individual who is critical of this blowhard becomes — in Guandolo’s mind — part of the Muslim plot to destroy the U.S.
It would take several gigabytes to regurgitate all of the Islamophobic filth that Guandolo’s on the record as spouting.
So why do some law enforcement agencies keep inviting this guy back?
After all, his balderdash ain’t cheap.
When Montgomery sponsored Guandolo’s visit to Arizona in 2014, the whole kit-and-caboodle — books, fees, airfare, etc. — cost nearly $40,000 in public funds.
The backlash at that time was enormous, in part because Guandolo publicly labeled local Muslim leaders as being members of Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood, with nada to back it up.
He also suggested that the ACLU — which along with CAIR and the ADL of Arizona, slammed Guandolo’s visit — should be indicted on federal terrorism charges.
And to top it off, Guandolo called local TV reporters critical of his visit “collaborators” and “stealth jihadis.”
(Interestingly, one of those TV reporters, Mia Garcia, who at the time worked for the local Fox News affiliate, is now the communications director for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican.)
Nevertheless, Montgomery stubbornly refused to cancel Guandolo’s event, which went on as planned, with protesters picketing the venue in opposition.
This time, Montgomery’s involvement seems removed by a step or two.
A spokeswoman for the Mesa Police Department told Hatewatch that though the Arizona Police Association is sponsoring the seminar, it’s being funded by a grant of an undisclosed sum from Montgomery’s office.
In his letter to CAIR, Chief Dvorak did his best to downplay the Mesa PD’s involvement in Guandolo’s appearance, claiming that his department “is not participating as a host, sponsor or monetary contributor.”
Perhaps Dvorak should consult the definitions of “host” given by Miriam-Webster, which includes, “one that provides facilities for an event or function.”
Clearly, the Mesa PD is doing just that.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office did not respond to several calls and emails by Hatewatch staff for this story.