Whenever right-wing radio hosts and podcasters want “analysis” on the war on terror, they usually call on “experts” whose “commentary” usually amounts to fearmongering about Islamists and jihadists hiding under every rock. Well, one of the foremost practitioners of this genre may have finally gone too far. He got sliced, diced, and julienned after falsely accusing an airline employee as a closet terrorist.
For most of the last decade, one of the go-to terrorism “experts” on the right-wing fringe is former FBI agent John Guandolo. According to his “analysis,” Muslim interfaith outreach is nothing more than a stalking horse for a jihadi invasion, and Trump protesters are on the payroll of jihadist interests.
But it turns out his other stock in trade is sniffing out potential terrorists among us. Last fall, while flying out of LaGuardia Airport, he tweeted pictures of two TSA agents whom he suspected of being jihadists. His “proof”? They were dark-skinned men with beards.
He pulled a similar stunt on Saturday while flying to Phoenix on Southwest Airlines for the Western Conservative Conference, where he appeared alongside such luminaries as Joe Arpaio, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Corey Lewandowski, Joseph Farah, Herman Cain, and James O’Keefe. He spotted a black Southwest employee with a beard, and felt it was his patriotic duty to alert his followers to another jihadist in our midst.
Keep in mind that John Guandolo regularly provides training to law enforcement agencies across the nation on the dangers of Islam. pic.twitter.com/Pq107ikgdQ
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 24, 2018
In what world is this acceptable? Guandolo’s act of “patriotism” put an innocent man at risk of being harassed or worse. Within minutes of Guandolo blasting out this tweet, the condemnation came in fast and hard. Many Twitter users demanded that Southwest and Twitter take action.
Hi @SouthwestAir .
passenger below is harrassed and slandered one of your ramp employees and most likely put his life in danger. Maybe he should be banned from flying your airline? In case he deletes the tweet we will post a screenshot following this tweet. Name is John Guandolo https://t.co/TsGxPADvnH
— ALT- Immigration 🛂 (@ALT_uscis) March 24, 2018
@SouthwestAir, as a 10 + year A-List flyer, I implore you to take action against @JohnGuandolo and his inappropriate characterization of your employee, based on his appearance or beliefs. There is no excuse for this type of blantant racism from John, or his ilk. #FightRacism pic.twitter.com/OgFvm7is9O
— shaunnfullmer (@shaunnfullmer) March 24, 2018
— Danny Goldberg (@dannygberg) March 24, 2018
@SouthwestAir As a loyal #SouthwestAirlines girl, I fully expect an announcement within 24 hours that @JohnGuandolo is permanently banned from all future flights. We all need to feel safe flying the friendly skies. ✌🏼
— Kat (@TheKathyBray) March 24, 2018
@SouthwestAir Ban this user for taking unauthorized photos and potentially causing harm to one of your employees. This is unacceptable.
— Totally Camren (@Iamcamren) March 25, 2018
Imagine being this much of a dirtbag to someone who's doing his job to help you get where you're going safely. Hey @SouthwestAir, don't let people abuse your team like this – they deserve better.
— Alt US Cyber Command (@AltCyberCommand) March 24, 2018
Anti-Muslim hate crimes are at record highs—dont let this violence hijack your platform. pic.twitter.com/tIt9CHFth9
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) March 24, 2018
By Saturday night, Southwest responded with a burning tweetstorm condemning Guandolo’s stunt for the pigweed that it was.
Thank you to those who have shared their concerns regarding a recent inappropriate post by a Customer showing one of our Employees. Earlier today, we reported the tweet to Twitter and are hopeful that it will be removed.
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) March 25, 2018
We pride ourselves on our People-focused Culture fostered by the most caring and loving Employees in the world, and the Southwest Family stands strong with our Employee who was the target of this cruel and inappropriate post.
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) March 25, 2018Loading...
At Southwest, we stand for embracing civility and living by the Golden Rule, and we ask our Customers to do the same.
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) March 25, 2018
By Sunday, the tweet had disappeared. It looks like Twitter deleted it at the behest of Southwest and others.
— Ea Tamen Perseveravit (@DanielleThys) March 26, 2018
Now, I wouldn't say that. Maybe this had something to do with it, huh John? pic.twitter.com/hQ7sRQYiM9
— Ed Barroni (@BarroniBaloney) March 26, 2018
In case you hadn't seen this: pic.twitter.com/ven2d2jVNY
— Sandra Souza (@SandraLSouza) March 26, 2018
But a number of users want Southwest to go further and ban Guandolo from ever flying on the airline again.
Thank you for your response, but that isn't enough. This employee is literally at risk now. This customer most likely broke the law. This should be determined, customer should be reported to authorities, and he definitely should be banned from future flights.
— NYCGypsy (@CuriousGypsyNYC) March 25, 2018
Southwest is a great place to work and it shows, because you treat your employees like family. Don’t change that. Ban him. Stand up for your employees no matter the consequences. I promise I’ll keep giving you my business.
— Michael (@freetravelguys) March 25, 2018
The airline needs to absolutely ban this person from ever flying. What happens if he flies again, finds someone who “worries” him, then someone’s safety is threatened. Where is the line drawn? #BanHimNow
— Ms. Cupcake (@KaptainKimbro) March 25, 2018
It was not inappropriate. It was racist, vile, and defamatory. Do more.
— hillary ☘️ (@hillofbeans17) March 25, 2018
I'm in Australia & a loyal Southwest customer whenever I'm in the States. Appalled by this tweet & have reported it also. Hope this low life gets banned.
— ✳Lily✳ (@AussieDDubGirl) March 25, 2018
It’s hard not to agree. It cannot be stated enough–Guandolo’s misguided act of “patriotism” put an innocent man in serious danger. In response, Southwest says that it’s “looking into the situation.”
But then again, considering what we know about Guandolo, this was to be expected. His entire brand is built on a transparent lie. As he tells it, he was fired in 2008 because he wouldn’t shut up about the Muslim Brotherhood extending its tentacles into the FBI. In truth, he resigned rather than face certain termination for carrying on an affair with a key witness in the corruption trial of former Congressman William Jefferson.
That little stunt nearly derailed the case. After Jefferson’s conviction in 2009, his lawyers claimed that they should have had a chance to delve more into Guandolo’s behavior. However, the judge rebuffed them and sentenced Jefferson to 13 years in prison. Jefferson didn’t actually start his sentence until his appeals ran out in 2012.
That stunt was reason enough to wonder how Guandolo even got into the FBI in the first place. Well, add another reason to the list. He apparently finds it acceptable to smear innocent workers with false accusations that they’re jihadists. Southwest needs to take a stand and ban him from ever flying with them again. Ever.
(featured image: screengrab courtesy YouTube)