Malcolm Nance

Malcolm Nance

: Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Author of Photo: United States Navy


* Was an intelligence collections operator and field interrogator in the U.S. Navy from 1981-2001
* Has managed a New York-based counterterrorism think tank since 2014
* Said the War in Iraq “may be considered the greatest error in American policy since the Civil War”
* Defended President Obama’s false explanation of the attack on the U.S, Embassy in Benghazi
* Conflates Islamic jihad with Christian & right-wing extremism

Born in Philadelphia on September 20, 1961, Malcolm Wrightson Nance hails from what he calls “an African American family that is predominantly Muslim.” After serving as an intelligence collections operator and field interrogator in the U.S. Navy from 1981-2001, he established an intelligence support company called Special Readiness Services International. Between 2005 and 2007, Nance was a visiting lecturer at Macquarie University’s Centre on Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (in Sydney, Australia), and at Victoria University of Wellington (in New Zealand). He also founded a training center called the Advanced Terrorism, Abduction and Hostage Survival School. Since 2014, Nance has managed a New York-based counterterrorism think tank called the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideologies. He is also a board of directors member for the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. And he has authored several books, including An End to al-Qaeda, Terrorist Recognition Handbook, The Terrorists of Iraq, Defeating ISIS, The Plot to Hack America, and Hacking ISIS.

Regarding the Iraq War

In an April 2015 interview, Nance said: “The 2003 war in Iraq may be considered the greatest error in American policy since the Civil War. Its ramifications are earth-shattering and will impact us and our safety for generations. It may completely unravel the entire Middle East forever.”

Regarding the Benghazi Terrorist Attacks and Political Scandal

On the night of September 11, 2012, a U.S. diplomatic mission and a nearby CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya were infamously attacked by a large group of heavily armed Islamic terrorists with ties to such jihadist organizations as al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia. By the time the violence was over, four Americans were dead: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALS, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. In the aftermath of the attacks in Benghazi, the Obama administration immediately and persistently characterized them not as acts of terrorism, but rather, as spontaneous, unplanned uprisings that had evolved from what began as a low-level protest against an obscure YouTube video that disparaged Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed. In reality, however, within a few hours following the attacks, U.S. intelligence agencies had already gained more than enough evidence to conclude unequivocally that they were planned terrorist incidents rather than spontaneous eruptions of violence carried out in reaction to any video.

Rejecting the notion that the Obama administration was deliberately, for political reasons, misrepresenting the facts of the Benghazi attacks, Nance in October 2015 condemned “the torrent of B.S., innuendo, and outright crazy conspiracy theories that have sprung up from the Benghazi incident.”

Regarding the Muslim Brotherhood & Anti-Muslim Bigotry

In 2011, Nance said that the Muslim Brotherhood in recent times had “become a much more benign organization despite their history.”

According to a February 2017 report in the Philadelphia Enquirer, Nance agreed with the assertion by Robert McCraw — director of government affairs for the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — that the Trump administration’s plan to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group was evidence that “[anti-] Islamic hate groups and their congressional allies are seeking to create a new era of witch hunts and religious McCarthyism where being an American Muslim and political detractor is enough to disqualify you from civic participation.” “These guys [in the Trump administration] think they are about to have a clash of civilizations,” Nance added. “… They intend to take on the world of Islam…. They want to upset all of the global order.”

In February 2017 as well, Nance complained that while President Donald Trump routinely tweeted “to the high heavens” about Islamic terror attacks against non-Muslims, he (Trump) typically said nothing about attacks committed by white men against non-Westerners. Nance cited, for instance, the cases of: (a) Alexandre Bisonnette, a white gunman who had killed six Muslims in a January 2017 attack in a Quebec City mosque; and (b) Dylan Roof, a young white man who had murdered nine African-American parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina church in June 2015.

Regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal

In 2015, the Obama administration and the leaders of five other nations finalized with Iran a negotiated agreement allowing the Islamist regime in Tehran to continue to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and eventually have a near-zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road. Contrary to the foregoing facts, however, the Obama administration portrayed the accord as a flawed but highly significant step towards thwarting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Nance, for his part, was highly supportive of the accord, writing in April 2015 that Iran was eager to negotiate peace with its adversaries and to focus upon strengthening its own economy, rather than on waging jihad against the United States and Israel. Thus he counseled: “Conclude the Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal: Iran wants BMWs, Red Bull, and Gucci. There are no military options for Iran. Attack them and they will destroy the Gulf States oil industries, rain hundreds of missiles onto Israel, close the Arabian Gulf, and shoot oil prices to $300 per barrel, which could cause our own economic downfall. I have fought Iran twice in the Persian Gulf, they are not the Iran of 1988. They are the global terror A-Team and now they want peace. Give it to them.”


Waterboarding Is “Torture”

In 2007, Nance wrote an article titled “Waterboarding Is Torture… Period,” which described the enhanced interrogation technique of waterboarding as “a controlled drowning” and “slow motion suffocation” that “usually” causes the subject to “g[o] into hysterics.” Some individuals who administer waterboarding, he said, “enjoy the sadistic power of making the victim suffer.”

Contempt for Donald Trump

In July 2016, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews aired video footage of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump trashing his Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton, as “a weak person” who ISIS and other terror groups were hoping would win the U.S. presidency. Nance called Trump’s assertions “laughable” and said: “I will go so far as to say Donald Trump is the ISIS candidate. He inflames the passions of people in the West to perform Islamophobia, to draw recruits to them, to make them say ‘This is what America is.’”

Nance’s book The Plot to Hack America explores allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by means of hacking and then making public the emails and other sensitive information of the Democratic National Committee. In a radio interview about his book, Nance said: “The Russians didn’t hack the RNC [Republican National Committee] because they’re working for the RNC.”

In March 2017, Salon magazine interviewed Nance about “the questionable and perhaps illegal connections between President Donald Trump’s administration (and before that his campaign) and the Russian espionage apparatus under the control of Vladimir Putin.” Nance said: “I think that the activities that have occurred and the thing that we’re seeing indicate a scandal on an order of magnitude greater than anything that’s occurred in the 20th century. What’s occurring now is as close to Benedict Arnold as I think we’re ever going to get in American history. It had better be, because the only alternative to what we’re seeing with this information is, if it’s not espionage, then it will be the largest financial scandal in American history.”When asked, in that same interview, if “it is fair to say that Trump and his cadre are traitors and that they should be held accountable based on those criteria,” Nance replied: “If we use the rhetorical definition of treason, the common vernacular definition of treason, and it turns out that anyone at any time in this campaign was aware of Russia’s operations, decided to use Russia’s operations and coordinate with Russia’s operations, that right there would be treason.” He also condemned “all of these insane right-wingers” who “voted for stupid” — i.e., Trump. By Nance’s calculus, Trump and his administration simply “want to start a global war.” “They are the wrecking crew,” Nance added, “and they don’t work for this nation. I really think their ideology is based on an ideology they got from Putin’s philosopher, Alexander Dugin, the man who believes that Western liberal democracy must be destroyed and a strongman authoritarianism [must] step into its place, and then you could reshape the world as you saw fit. That’s Hitler and Stalin talk.”

In an April 2017 interview with McLean’s magazine, Nance said that former al Qaeda leader “Osama bin Laden … felt that Islam and the West were due for a clash of civilization, and that’s why he did the 9/11 attack. He wanted to lure the United States into having a war with all of Islam…. Donald Trump and some of his senior advisors like Steve Bannon and General Flynn, they believe in the clash of civilizations and they are trying to provoke one. Bin Laden beats us from the grave because they have adopted his philosophy.”

On April 18, 2017, Nance posted a tweet featuring a photo of Trump Tower in Istanbul, accompanied by the words: “This is my nominee for first ISIS suicide bombing of a Trump property.”

Conflating Jihadism and Mental Illness

In July 2016, MSNBC host Thomas Roberts wondered aloud whether mental ilness, rather than Islamic fundamentalism, might have been responsible for the murderous act of a Tunisian-born jihadist who had used a large truck to run over and kill 84 people in a crowd of Bastille Day revelers in Nice, France: “[W]hat if this is just a person with mental illness that took a moment to challenge society in a horrific way …?” Nance said, in agreement: “We’ve seen that. We call them EDPs. Extremely disturbed persons, or emotionally disturbed persons. We had a case in France last year where a man beheaded his supervisor, you know, put his head on a stake and claimed that he did it in some form of radical jihadism.”

Likening Jihad to Christian Extremism & Right-Wing Extremism

In an April 2017 interview with McLean’s magazine, Nance said: “It annoys me [that] right-wing extremism is not equated to Islamic extremism…. There is no difference between an ISIS gunman and an American gunman that goes into a mosque, or the gunman Baruch Goldstein who went into the mosque in Bethlehem and killed 29 guys about fifteen years ago…. There’s no monopoly on terrorism.” When the interviewer told Nance that “the Trump administration [had] decided [that] the government’s Countering Violent Extremism program is only going to target Islamists,” Nance responded: “That’s extremely scary. First off, it’s straight-up racist, and bigoted. Second off, it does not meet any of the professional requirements that intelligence needs in order to break extremism. If suddenly there’s an outbreak of Christian, right-wing, white-supremacist violence in the United States?”

Nance Claims That ISIS (a.k.a. ISIL) Is Not Islamic, and That Other “Radical Islamic” Groups Are Rational and Can Be Negotiated With

In March 2016, Nance wrote: “ISIL is not ‘radical Islam.’ Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, the Muslim Brotherhood—these are radical Islamic groups. They resort to armed struggle and terrorism to move toward their goals. But they are also deeply political organizations that have internal rules, standards and codes of conduct. Hamas and Hezbollah operate within geopolitical norms. They can be negotiated and reasoned with. ISIL is a different animal altogether—a religious cult an order of magnitude more extreme than even the most extreme Islamic groups of the past. The ISIL cult worships at the altar of perpetual apocalyptic jihad that claims that each act of mass murder, rape or suicide terrorism against its enemies is a form of worship equal to prayer. … Referring to ISIL as a destructive religious cult rather than a legitimate theo-political ‘radical Islamic’ group is not just more accurate, it also exposes ISIL’s corrupt religious narrative. It will allow the Muslim world to reject the group without rejecting its faith—and might make those Muslims supplying and supporting ISIL wonder whether their souls are at risk for cooperating.”

Regarding Israel

In an April 2015 interview, Nance advised Israel to be more concerned with the threat posed by ISIS, than with any threat posed by Hamas. “Israel should focus on preventing ISIS,” he said, “not screwing around with Hamas. Israel will need Hamas soon enough if the ISIS/AQ ideological virus infects Palestine. The Israelis won’t have to worry about hundreds of rockets they will have to worry about thousands of suicide bombers. They’ll be getting attacked like the Jerusalem scene from World War Z.”

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