- John Guandolo claims John Brennan converted while in Saudi Arabia
- Former FBI agent says Mr Brennan visited Mecca and Medina during Hajj
PUBLISHED: 09:54 EST, 12 February 2013 | UPDATED: 10:04 EST, 12 February 2013
The incoming head of the CIA converted to Islam while working as a station chief in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, a former FBI agent has claimed.
John Guandolo, who retired from the FBI in 2008, said in a radio interview that John Brennan – who has been nominated by Barack Obama as the new director of the CIA – visited the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina accompanied by Saudi officials who may have persuaded him to convert.
Mr Guandolo’s tale echoes elements of the plot of hit show Homeland, in which U.S. Marine Nick Brody converts to Islam while being held prisoner by al-Qaeda, only to begin working for the CIA after his release.
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Mr Guandolo told the Trento Radio Show via Skype that Mr Brennan visited the holy sites during the Hajj season – in sees hundreds of thousands of Muslims converge on the cities to perform a series of rituals – while serving as CIA station chief in Riyadh between 1996 and 1999, a report on Al Arabiya News said.
Non-Muslims are prohibited from entering Mecca, and are not permitted to enter the city centre, or sacred core, of Medina.
The ex-FBI agent told the radio station Mr Brennan was ‘unfit’ to take charge of the CIA, and claimed U.S. government officials based in Saudi Arabia during that period ‘were direct witnesses to his growing relationships with individuals who work with the Saudi government and they witnessed his conversion to Islam’.
Mr Brennan, 57, has spent more than three decades working in intelligence.
He was nominated as the new head of the CIA on January 7 by President Obama, after predecessor General David Petraeus was forced to resign amid a scandal surrounding an affair with his biographer.
In the critically-acclaimed series Homeland Lieutenant Nick Brody was ‘turned’ by his captors during an eight year stint as a prisoner of war.
Upon his release he is welcomed back to the U.S. as a war hero and soon attracts the interest of high-level politicians who encourage him to run for Congress. But the newly devout Muslim is secretly working for terrorist Abu Nazir.
The second season of Homeland sees Brody forced to begin covertly helping the CIA in its hunt for Nazir after his cover is blown by agent Carrie Mathison.
The CIA is yet to respond to the MailOnline regarding Mr Guandolo’s claims.
VIDEO: Ex-FBI agent John Guandolo on CIA nominee John Brennan