Conservative columnist Frank Gaffney claimed in a recent op-ed that FBI agent John Guandolo lost his job because he was too fiercely opposed to radical Islamic ideology, when in fact Guandolo resigned after sleeping with the key government witness in a major congressional corruption trial.
And in an e-mail exchange with TPMmuckraker, Gaffney is standing by the column, while providing no information to back up his claim.The Jan. 5 column, which ran in the Washington Times and elsewhere and encourages president Obama to hire Guandolo as part of a terrorism “Team B,” includes this passage (emphasis ours):
Moreover, few in the military, intelligence or law enforcement communities have missed what has happened under this administration (and, in fairness, under the previous one) to patriots like the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s erstwhile Shariah specialist, Steven Coughlin, or an FBI special agent with deep expertise in counterterrorism and jihad, John Guandolo. For courageously challenging the official orthodoxy on the ideological wellspring of the threats we face, namely Shariah, they lost their jobs.
Now, as it happens, TPMmuckraker has encountered Guandolo before, and this passage from Gaffney caught our eye. That’s because, according to documents in the corruption trial of former Democratic congressman William Jefferson, Guandolo resigned from the FBI amid an internal probe into the fact that he slept with the star government witness in that case, Lori Mody. Guandolo was serving as her undercover driver.
According to the court filings, Guandolo’s advances “took place in a car, [Mody’s] townhouse, or [Mody’s] parent’s house.” Guandolo’s FBI superiors even found a list of affairs he drafted during marriage counseling that included the line: “Lori M. Sex While On The Job. Jeopardized Case.” The FBI’s alleged failure to alert prosecutors about Guandolo’s conduct later became an issue in the Jefferson trial.
In any case, the court documents say that Guandolo resigned from the FBI on or around Dec. 1 2008 after the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility began an investigation. The reason for his resignation was never explicitly given, but it seems fair to surmise that it had something to do with the affair, for which he expressed “deep remorse” in a statement.
So we asked Gaffney if there was some information we didn’t know about the resignation of Guandolo, who has since made a career as an Islamic terrorism expert. Here’s how Gaffney responded:
“John had been a thorn in the side of senior leadership at the Bureau for several years as he worked to counter the influence of Muslim Brotherhood operatives within the FBI and in the government more generally. Other factors evidently contributed to his separation from the Bureau but his views on the failure to understand and counter the Islamists assuredly made him persona non grata with a number of his superiors.”
But does Gaffney think the column, which said Guandolo lost his job because of opposing orthodoxy on terrorism, should be corrected? No, he told TPMmuckraker.