Former FBI official compares 'mainstream' conservatives to Islamic terrorists

He stated that the fact that mainstream conservatives are violent is what "really concerns" him the most.

Updated: January 10, 2022 - 5:57pm

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Former deputy Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe compared "mainstream" conservatives to radical Islamic terrorists, and said the violence is spreading across the nation during a University of Chicago panel Thursday focusing on the Jan. 6 riot. 

McCabe was fired in 2018 from his position as the FBI's second-in-command following reports from the Department of Justice and the FBI disciplinary office claiming that he leaked sensitive information to the press about a Clinton Foundation investigation and subsequently lied about it. He also reportedly spied on the Trump campaign and obtained the warrant to do so through a dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

"America’s universities are now indoctrination machines that shape the minds of the next generation. Academia openly exploits its power and rewrites history to serve its illiberal agenda," UChicago Senior Evita Duffy wrote in The Chicago Thinker in response to the Jan. 6 panel featuring McCabe, University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape and Rep. Raja Krishamoorthi (D-Ill.), with Washington Post reporter Hannah Allam as the moderator. 

McCabe notably compared supporters of former President Donald Trump to radical Islamic extremists during the panel. 

"I can tell you from my perspective of spending a lot of time focused on the radicalization of international terrorists and Islamic extremist and extremists of all stripes… is that this group shares many of the same characteristics of those groups that we’ve seen radicalized along entirely different ideological lines," he said.

During his time studying Americans who joined the Islamic Caliphate in 2014, McCabe said he noticed they were "broadly different people… drawn to the same things," including "a charismatic leader who attracts them by appealing to a sense of grievance."

McCabe said both people who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 and people who joined the Caliphate felt "like their way of life is under attack, their belief system is being pushed aside… they have to take up violence or take up arms to defend their way of life." He added that they "carry with them this exalted sense of purpose that they are… the real patriots who are here defending democracy."

McCabe asserted that nationwide, a wave of "political violence" from conservatives is "going on in school boards around the country… in local elections… even to health care workers."

Professor Pape said the problem of political violence is now "front and center in mainstream America."

McCabe added to the professor's comments: "It's entirely possible that when the intelligence community, the law enforcement community, looks out across this mainstream… they didn't assume that that group of people business owners, white people from the suburbs, educated, employed, presented a threat of violence. And now we know very clearly that they do.

He stated that as a "former law enforcement leader" and "counterterrorism specialist" the fact that mainstream American conservatives are violent is what "really concerns" him the most.

Despite the fact federal prosecutors recommended that McCabe be indicted for his actions at the FBI, he told the panel: "No one is above the law."

Duffy commented on her school's decision to invite McCabe to speak: "UChicago allowed McCabe to spin lies about what truly happened one year ago and filtered student questions via Zoom, refusing to ask him any tough questions. Consequently, McCabe was given a platform to teach young, impressionable college students without question that the federal government should be weaponized against fellow Americans whom leftists brand as 'extremists.'"

She described McCabe's version of Jan. 6 as "dishonest," adding that "His frighteningly despotic views and policy prescriptions will likely be accepted and implemented by his young listeners."

McCabe was in the news in October when the Justice Department under President Joe Biden reinstated his FBI pension that he initially lost upon being fired.