William C. Bradford

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William C. Bradford
William C. Bradford US Military Academy.png
Bradford in 2015
Bornc. 1964 (age 57–58)
EducationNorthwestern University
Harvard University
University of Miami

William C. Bradford (born c. 1964) is an American lawyer and scholar of political science. He previously served in United States Department of Energy as the Director, Office of Indian Energy until resigning on August 31, 2017 after derogatory and controversial comments he had posted on the Internet were publicized.[1][2]

He attained significant media attention in 2015 for a scholarly article which argued that a small cadre of legal academics in U.S. universities was sapping the United States' "will to fight" in the Global War on Terrorism and called for treason charges against and the imprisonment of such academics. Bradford was an associate professor of law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, before resigning in 2005 after a dispute over tenure and under suspicions of exaggerating his military service.[3][4][5][6][7][8] He was also briefly an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy before resigning in 2015 following the controversy stemming from the aforementioned article.[6][9]

Personal life[edit]

Bradford is married with three children. He is a member of the Chiricahua band of the Apache nation.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Bradford earned a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University with major fields in International Relations, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Comparative Politics. His 1995 doctoral dissertation is entitled "United States foreign policy decision-making in Arab-Israeli crises: The association of United States presidential personality constructs with political and military crisis outcomes" (AAT 9537394). Bradford earned an LL.M. from Harvard University in International Law, Human Rights Law, and the Law of Armed Conflict. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law.

Following his resignation from Indiana University in 2005, Bradford was briefly a visiting faculty member at the William & Mary Law School.[10] He was also a lecturer at the United States Coast Guard Academy.[11] He subsequently claimed to be an associate professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in the National Defense University; however, according to an August 29, 2015 article in The Guardian, a representative of the National Defense University said Bradford was a contractor at the Defense Department-run institution, but "never an NDU employee nor an NDU professor".[6]

Bradford has authored several scholarly articles.[12]


Tenure controversy[edit]

Bradford joined the faculty of Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in the fall of 2002 after serving in the Army Reserve. In 2005 Bradford accused Professor Florence Roisman of opposing his tenure because of some of his conservative views.[13] The official reason given was that Prof. Bradford was "uncollegial." The feud became a national one when Fox News and FrontPage magazine.com, among others, continually reported on the controversy.[14] Bradford claimed that his support of the Iraq War and his refusal to sign a letter in defense of Ward Churchill were contributing factors. "The presumption was that I've got to sign this thing because I'm an Indian, but I can't do that," he said.[15] Roisman has denied most of Bradford's claims[16] and school administrators pointed out that Bradford never actually applied for tenure and as such no vote to approve or deny tenure to Bradford was held. Instead there was simply a non-binding straw poll to determine his colleagues' opinions as to whether he would receive tenure were he to apply. It was soon discovered many of the postings in support of Bradford on Indy Law Net were in fact written by Bradford himself under alternate accounts (all of the messages came from the same IP address). Bradford later admitted to using fake names to post "cheap shots, schoolyard bickering." In October 2005, Bradford stated that Judge David J. Dreyer of Marion Superior Court had issued a temporary restraining order barring professors from speaking ill of or taking any actions against Bradford. However, Court records and sources both indicate that Bradford never filed for any sort of injunction and that no restraining order was ever issued.

Bradford's claims that he had served in the Army infantry from 1994 to 2001, that he had been a major in the Special Forces, and that he had been awarded a Silver Star, also came under scrutiny. Ret. Army Lieut. Col. Keith R. Donnelly and Indianapolis Star columnist Ruth Holladay both expressed concern about Bradford's claims and independently requested Bradford's military records. In a subsequent column, Holladay reported that while Bradford did serve in Army Reserve from 1995 to 2001, he had seen no active duty, was never in the infantry, had won no awards, was discharged as a second lieutenant. He resigned from the university shortly thereafter.[17]

Controversial article and resignation from West Point[edit]

In an article in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of the National Security Law Journal,[18] Bradford argued that "lawful targets" for the U.S. military in the fight against Islamic radicalism could include "Islamic holy sites", "law school facilities, scholars' home offices and media outlets where they give interviews."[6][19] In a statement to The Guardian, a spokesman for the United States Military Academy said that the article was written and accepted for publication before Bradford was employed at West Point, and that "The views in the article are solely those of Bradford and do not reflect those of the Department of Defense, the United States Army, [or] the United States Military Academy."[6] On August 24, 2015, the National Security Law Journal's editor-in-chief called the article's publication "a mistake".[20]

The journal has posted a rebuttal by George Mason University (the journal's host institution) law professor Jeremy A. Rabkin.[21] Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the author of one of the papers discussed in Bradford's article told The Guardian: "It's very hard to take this seriously ... except insofar as he may actually be teaching nonsense like this to cadets at West Point."[6][19]

As a result of this article, and the scrutiny it generated concerning his credentials, Bradford resigned from his position as Assistant Professor at the U.S. Military Academy on August 30, 2015 after only a month at the institution.[22][23][24][25]

Inflammatory comments[edit]

In June 2017, the Washington Post reported that Bradford had from a now-deleted Twitter account "tweeted a slew of disparaging remarks about the real and imagined ethnic, religious and gender identities of former president Barack Obama, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, TV news host Megyn Kelly and Japanese Americans during World War II."[26] Bradford called Obama a "Kenyan creampuff", "the Tehran candidate" and expressed concern that Obama would stay in office beyond his term and that a military coup would be needed to overthrow him.[26] In response to a story that the Trump administration planned to purge climate-change policy-makers, Bradford tweet "Soon, 'climate change' cultists will be pitied as the nuts they always were."[26] On the 2016 anniversary of the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, Bradford stated "it was necessary".[26] He called Zuckerberg a "little arrogant self-hating Jew", and then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly as "MegOBgyn Kelly."[26] He stated that "women have no business in combat" and that he would "shoot anyone who comes for my daughters".[26]

Bradford later apologized for the tweets.[26]

Similar comments were found to have been made by a Disqus account traced to Bradford, from which it was posted that "Obama is the son of a fourth-rate p&*n actress and w@!re". Bradford denied posting this comment, asserting that the posting of these comments was the result of his account being hacked.[27]


  1. ^ a b "William C. Bradford Director, Office of Indian Energy". Department of Energy. Archived from the original on 2017-06-10. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  2. ^ Kaczynski, Andrew (August 31, 2017). "Trump Energy official who said controversial comments were result of hacking resigns". CNN. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  3. ^ "Faculty/Staff Profile". Archived from the original on October 17, 2005. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  4. ^ "School of Law—Indianapolis 2002-2004 Academic Bulletin". Archived from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  5. ^ "Faculty Publications". Archived from the original on November 3, 2005. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Ackerman, Spencer (August 29, 2015). "West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Epstein, David (December 6, 2005). "Web of Lies". Inside Higher Ed. Archived from the original on December 8, 2005. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Holladay, Ruth (December 4, 2005). "Truth comes out about professor's background". The Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on April 23, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Ford, Matt (August 31, 2015). "The West Point Professor Who Contemplated a Coup". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  10. ^ "New Faculty & Visiting Faculty". Archived from the original on September 20, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  11. ^ "UNITED STATES COAST GUARD ACADEMY". Cga.edu. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  12. ^ "SSRN Author Page for Bradford, William C". Papers.ssrn.com. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  13. ^ "Bradford Clarifies". IndyLaw.net. 2005-06-27. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  14. ^ John Gibson (June 29, 2005). "Un-Collegial?". FOX News. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  15. ^ Jaschik, Scott (2005-06-28). "Not the Right Kind of Indian". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  16. ^ Lucas Sayre (June 30, 2005). "Bradford tenure story goes national". IndyLaw Net. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  17. ^ Web of Lies by David Epstein, Inside Higher Ed, December 6, 2005.
  18. ^ Bradford, William C. (2015). "Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column" (PDF). National Security Law Journal. 3 (2). Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  19. ^ a b Huckabee, Charles (August 31, 2015). "Academics Who Criticize War on Terror Are 'Lawful Targets,' West Point Professor Says". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on August 31, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  20. ^ Maas, Lynzi (2015-08-24). "A Message to Our Readers: | National Security Law Journal". Nslj.org. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  21. ^ Jermey Rabkin. "A Betrayal of Rational argument" (PDF). Nslj.org. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  22. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (August 31, 2015). "West Point law professor who called for attacks on 'Islamic holy sites' resigns". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  23. ^ Patrice, Joe (August 31, 2015). "Law Journal Apologizes For Article About Executing Law Professors, Professor Resigns". Above the Law. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  24. ^ Buckley, Madeline (September 1, 2015). "Former IU law professor who inflated resume resigns from West Point". The Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on September 1, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  25. ^ Miller, Michael E. (September 1, 2015). "West Point law professor resigns after advocating attacks on colleagues 'sympathetic to Islamist aims'". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g "'How else can a Kenyan creampuff get ahead?' is just one of the disturbing tweets sent by this Trump Energy Department agency head". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  27. ^ Andrew Kaczynski and Paul LeBlanc (August 29, 2017). "This Trump appointee says it was hackers, not him, who called Obama's mom a 'w@!re'". CNN.