A bnw portrait with a blue overlay with a backdrop of off white described by text in gray and warm red


Factsheet: John Guandolo

Published on 08 Dec 2017

IMPACT: John Guandolo conducts anti-Muslim law enforcement trainings throughout the United States, propagates anti-Muslim conspiracy theories about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S. government, and has worked closely with anti-Muslim organizations like the Center for Security Policy and ACT for America.

John Guandolo is a retired Marine Corps officer and former FBI Special Agent who worked on counterterrorism issues after 9/11. He is the founder of a law enforcement training organization called Understanding the Threat (UTT).

Guandolo is the author of Raising a Jihadi Generation: Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in America, which purports to chronicle the “Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic plan to overthrow the United States.” A self-described “handbook for law enforcement, intelligence and military professionals,” Raising a Jihadi Generation has been endorsed by individuals who espouse anti-Muslim positions, such as former U.S. attorney Andrew McCarthy.

Despite Guandolo’s claims of expertise, as reported in The Intercept, Guandolo “does not speak Arabic…and has no scholarly expertise in Islam.”

Guandolo resigned from the FBI in 2008 amid investigations by the FBI over alleged sexual improprieties with fellow federal agents, as well as with a testifying witness whom he was tasked to protect during a federal anti-corruption case, which Guandolo later admitted to. Guandolo also solicited a $75,000 donation from the witness for a “counter-terrorism organization.”

Despite the circumstances of his departure from the FBI, Guandolo has become “a prominent figure in…a cottage industry of ex-national security professionals exploiting fear of terrorism for cash,” as reported by The Intercept.

In 2012, Guandolo founded UTT, which the Center for New Community (CNC) identifies as “one of the most active outfits seeking to indoctrinate state and local law enforcement with anti-Muslim bias through trainings often presented as legitimate courses” — and often paid for with taxpayer money. According to CNC, these trainings are “steeped in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and vilify Muslim community members.”

In June 2017, Guandolo physically assaulted a sheriff from Minnesota at a National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) expo in Reno, Nevada, for which Guandolo was a presenter. Guandolo had previously written about the sheriff he assaulted, claiming that he “works with jihadis in the community” due to the presence of mosques in his county and for refusing briefings from UTT. A few days after the altercation, the NSA published a letter retracting its support for UTT.

In February 2011, Guandolo appeared on ACT’s “ACT for America Show” with Brigitte Gabriel, whom the Center for American Progress (CAP) identifies as a leading activist in the “Islamophobia network.” On the show, Guandolo claimed: “Nearly every single Muslim organization in North America is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood or a derivative group, and that they seek to impose Islamic law in furtherance of establishing an Islamic state here.”

In November 2013, ACT for America established the “Thin Blue Line Project,” which describes itself as “a one-stop shop for American Law Enforcement for the Jihadi Threat.” According to the SPLC, Guandolo “helped [ACT] build the project.” One of the prominent features of the website is its “Radicalization Map Locator,” which lists “the addresses of every Muslim Student Association (MSA) in the country as well as a number of mosques and Islamic institutions.”

As reported in November 2014 by World Net Daily (WND), Guandolo “helped draft the anti-Brotherhood bill,” which Rep. Michele Bachmann introduced as HR 5194 to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a “foreign terrorist entity.”

In December 2015, Guandolo spoke with Steve Bannon on Breitbart radio and made the claim that “the U.S. government currently is exclusively working with Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood entities.” He also claimed that Muslim Student Associations on U.S. college campuses seek to “recruit jihadis on college campuses.”

In 2007, the Center for Security Policy (CSP), described by SPLC as an anti-Muslim hate group, awarded John Guandolo the “Defender of the Homeland Award.” Guandolo has also appeared on CSP’s Secure Freedom Radio with Frank Gaffney, and in 2010 he co-authored a CSP report, “Shariah: The Threat to America,” which recommends barring those who “espouse or support shariah” from serving in the government or the armed forces, and suggests that imams and mosques that advocate for sharia in the US be prosecuted for “promoting seditious activity.

In September 2016, Guandolo spoke on VCY America’s “Crosstalk,” where he claimed there is an intentional, coordinated effort among Muslims across the country to manage hotels, “buy up Quick Marts and fuel stations like 7-Elevens that have an adjacent gas station,” and work in airports in order to “prepar[e] for a jihad here in the United States.”

Guandolo has also worked with the Social Contract Press (TSCP), a group that SPLC identifies as a white nationalist and anti-immigrant group. TSCP’s publication, The Social Contract, called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S.

In February 2013, Guandolo claimed that then-CIA Director nominee, John Brennan, converted to Islam. He alleged that Brennan had “interwoven his life professionally and personally with individuals that we know are terrorists.” Guandolo has repeated these claims on Jihad Watch with Robert Spencer.

In October 2016, Guandolo testified at an Oklahoma state House interim study on “Radical Islam, Shariah Law, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Radicalization Process,” along with Chris Gaubatz and Frank Gaffney, at the invitation of state lawmaker John Bennett. Bennett has referred to Islam as “a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out.

In April 2010 during a law enforcement training in Columbus, Ohio, Guandolo suggested that a local college professor was a terrorist, which resulted in the professor’s termination from a state-held position. In a resulting defamation lawsuit against Guandolo, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) represented him.

In a December 2015 radio interview, Guandolo alleged that Muslim organizations in the U.S. “share the same ideology as ISIS.”

The Associated Press reported that in November 2011, Guandolo claimed that mosques “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”

Guandolo has referenced or repeated debunked myths about Muslim “no-go zones,” “civilization jihad,” and that 80% of mosques in the U.S. are “Muslim Brotherhood mosques.”

In June 2016 on World Net Daily, Guandolo claimed that “dozens of jihadis” were engaged in “multiple operations” with “socialist and Marxist groups,” such as the racial justice movement Black Lives Matter.

Last updated November 27, 2017