A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations


John Guandolo

Who is John Guandolo? 

John Guandolo’s Understanding the Threat is now defunct. In June 2023, Guandolo announced via email the closure of Understanding the Threat, writing that “assaults from [UTT’s] adversaries financially and legally have been withering and overwhelming.” The consultation and training group was known for providing anti-Islam instruction to U.S. law enforcement officials.  

Guandolo left the FBI shortly after reports surfaced that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a key witness in a corruption trial targeting a Member of Congress. On multiple occasions, he made “inappropriate sexual advances” towards the witness, and in one instance became “overly aggressive” before she fended him off. Guandolo also urged this witness to make a donation of $75,000 to an unnamed “anti-terrorism organization,” a request she refused to fulfill. 

Guandolo’s biography previously asserted he “served as an adjunct instructor at the Joint Forces Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.” However, according to Major General Tony Cucolo, “Mr. Guandolo’s claim (in print) that he teaches at the Army War College and any other references (e.g., online) identifying him as an adjunct instructor here are simply untrue.” Cucolo added, “Mr. Guandolo was invited to speak as a guest lecturer during one lesson of an elective… [he] came here, participated in an academic small group discussion that lasted no more than three hours, and then departed. That is all.” 

Anti-Muslim Activities 

Guandolo believes Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.” He has also stated that “a mosque is not a Muslim church. A mosque is what Mohammed used the mosque for, and Mohammed used the mosque for storing ammunition, for storing food, for planning jihad, it’s where jihadis stayed, and it’s the place from whence the jihad was fought.” 

According to Guandolo “the bad guys” are “all of the prominent Islamic leaders in the United States.” 

Guandolo has stated that “Christians should be preferred to be rulers and judges… because how can you make a judgement legally, if the foundation for law and government is the law of nature and Holy Scripture, if you don’t believe it?” 

After a terror attack on a London mosque in 2017, Guandolo excused lawless behavior saying “people who are still sane there are having to make very difficult decisions” and adding that the attack was a form of self-defense. 

According to Guandolo, “[Former CIA Director John] Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity on behalf of the United States in Saudi Arabia.” Guandolo adds, “His conversion was the culmination of a counter-intelligence operation against him to convert him.” 

Guandolo has observed, “The vast majority of taxicab drivers in major cities, especially in and around airports are Muslims.” He added, “I take pictures frequently of the increasing numbers of TSA officers that are sharia-adherent Muslims.” He completes the idea by saying, “The things [the interviewer is] asking specifically about hotel managers and Quickmart, 7-11 type, stores and venues like that. We are seeing that in cities, especially in the largest cities, the top hotels have a manager or assistant manager that is a Muslim. And I know the statistical chance, the statistical probability for instance that the top ten hotels or the top eight hotels in Denver, Colorado and the surrounding area would have a Muslims that’s a manager or an assistant manager, based on the Muslim population the statistical probability of that is zero, unless it’s intentional.” 

A video produced by Understanding the Threat oddly claims that when a Muslim religious leader in Delaware touched his nose during the national anthem it was an “intentional act” of “civilization jihad.” 

Guandolo believes “The way to understand when an Islamic leader is lying is when he is talking to you. When his mouth is moving.” UTT vice president Chris Gaubatz claimed that “Under Islamic law, Muslims are obliged to lie to advance the jihad.” As a result of this belief, Guandolo asserts, “For a pastor or a government official or law enforcement official to ask a Muslim to explain Islam to them is actually unprofessional.” 


Guandolo and others in his organization have trained law enforcement professionals around the country, teaching them any number of false stereotypes about Muslims.  

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