If you listen to right-wing talk radio and right-wing podcasts on a regular basis, you’ll hear “commentary” on the terrorist threat that amounts to nothing more than fearmongering and xenophobia. We got a lovely example of this over the weekend from one of the right’s favorite “experts” on terrorism, John Guandolo.
While flying to a conference in Phoenix on Southwest Airlines, Guandolo spotted a dark-skinned Southwest employee with a full beard near the gate. Guandolo snapped a picture and blasted out a tweet suggesting that there was a “jihadi” in our midst. Twitter users, especially regular Southwest flyers, condemned this for the bigoted pigweed that it was.
At the behest of Southwest’s social media team, as well as rank-and-file users, Twitter deleted the picture. However, a number of users want Southwest to go further and ban Guandolo from ever flying on Southwest again.
But Guandolo didn’t do anything to help his cause on the Monday edition of his “Understanding the Threat” podcast. He claimed that he was merely doing his patriotic duty. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Guandolo whined that the outrage he faced was “a coordinated attack by the leftist anitifa lunatics.” He also clutched his pearls at some of the “vile” replies he received. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to Guandolo that people were simply outraged at the manner in which he put an innocent man at risk of being harassed or worse.
Guandolo then reminded his audience that when he’s in the airport and sees anyone he believes to be “a Sharia-adherent Muslim” working for either the TSA or an airline, he takes a picture and posts it to Twitter. He then recalled what he saw over the weekend that made him fire off his latest tweet.
“I was boarding the flight from Dallas to Phoenix, took a photo of the Southwest Airlines employee standing there who is clearly part of the baggage team coming in and out and is a big, barrel-chested guy–probably about 6-1 or something–with an absolutely perfect Sharia-adherent beard, shaved head. And I snapped a picture and sent it out, saying, ‘I wish this was surprising, a jihadi working for the airlines.'”
When Guandolo arrived in Phoenix, he showed the picture to Fox News contributor and former Homeland Security employee Philip Haney, who agreed there were “clear indications” the baggage worker was a Salafi, an arch-conservative branch of Islam.
Guandolo frequently hosts counterterrorism workshops for law enforcement. He frequently tells them that there are “visual indicators of Sharia adherence”–among other things, men with full beards, and women who don’t wear jewelry. He claimed that there is “a one-to-one correlation” between Sharia adherence in a community and violence. For that reason, when you have indicators of Sharia adherence, “you are looking at a jihadi.”
So there you have it. Guandolo is openly admitting that profiling is standard operating procedure for him. He also admits that he has no qualms about smearing people as jihadists solely because they “look” like they’re “Sharia-adherent.” And he doesn’t appear to have any regard for the collateral damage that would ensue from his twisted idea of “patriotism.”
But then again, this is to be expected from a man whose legacy is built on a lie. Guandolo has long claimed that the FBI fired him in 2008 because he wouldn’t stop yelling about creeping Muslim Brotherhood influence in the Hoover Building. In truth, he was forced to resign after it emerged that he’d had an affair with the star witness in the corruption trial of disgraced Congressman William Jefferson.
At last report, Southwest was “looking into the situation.” That’s understandable, since the flight crew didn’t witness it first-hand. Well, Southwest, here’s your chance to take a stand. Guandolo has declared that he isn’t the least bit apologetic about what you described as a “cruel and inappropriate” act. No airline’s employees should have to fear being treated this way. Guandolo should not be allowed within an area code of a Southwest flight again. Ever.
(featured image: screenshot courtesy YouTube)