In the wake of news that Sen. Lindsey Graham is threatening to block the nominations of Hagel and Brennan, there’s a whole new conspiracy theory bubbling up on the right. From ground zero of Obama era conspiracy theories comes the conspiracy theory to top them all: that CIA nominee John Brennan is himself a Muslim.
The claim originates with longtime TPM favorite, ex-FBI agent and anti-Islam activist John Guandolo. Guandolo left the FBI after sleeping with a witness in the investigation of disgraced Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana. But he subsequently landed on his feet as part of the anti-Islam circuit.
Yesterday Guandolo went on Tom Trento’s radio show — a little known but prolific center of anti-Muslim and ‘defend us against the Muslim hordes’ commentary — to make his claim.
You can watch the key portion here …
From Trento’s show it jumped to WND.com which blasted the story to readers this afternoon …
“Mr. Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity on the behalf of the United States in Saudi Arabia,” Guandolo told interviewer and radio host Tom Trento.
“That fact alone is not what is most disturbing,” Guandolo continued. “His conversion to Islam was the culmination of a counterintelligence operation against him to recruit him. The fact that foreign intelligence service operatives recruited Mr. Brennan when he was in a very sensitive and senior U.S. government position in a foreign country means that he either a traitor … [or] he has the inability to discern and understand how to walk in those kinds of environments, which makes him completely unfit to the be the director of Central Intelligence.”
Brennan did indeed serve as CIA station chief in Riyadh in the 1990s and today holds the official title of Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. On Jan. 7, Obama nominated Brennan as the next director of the CIA, though he has yet to be confirmed.
“Are you kidding me?” Trento balked at Guandolo’s allegations. “The head of the CIA is a Muslim? For real? … Are you sure?”
“Yes I am,” Guandolo asserted. “The facts of the matter are confirmed by U.S. government officials who were also in Saudi Arabia at the time that John Brennan was serving there and have direct knowledge. These are men who work in very trusted positions, they were direct witnesses to his growing relationship with the individuals who worked for the Saudi government and others and they witnessed his conversion to Islam.”
And yes, it also occurred to me that someone may have been watching too many episodes of Homeland.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.