Author Brad Thor joined me on the program this AM to discuss huis new thriller “Foreign Agent”
HH: Brad Thor, novelist extraordinaire, is with me. American Pie, one of the tunes referenced in his brand new thriller, Foreign Agent, which you can preorder. I’ve linked it over at Hughhewitt.com. Brad, good morning to you, great to have you on the program.
BT: Hey, good morning, Hugh, thanks for having me on.
HH: This is a terrific read, and I was telling people during the last segment that the best thrillers educate us, they entertain, and you’ve obviously been doing your work on Syria and on the Russians. And how much of this, do you think, is plausible when you write, for example, that the Russians want an exterminator, not a roommate in Syria. They want us to be involved in killing ISIS to make their way there more permanent and more comfortable?
BT: Well you know, this is probably, I spend a lot of time with men and women in the intelligence community, special operations, the diplomatic community. And as we talked about the way the Obama administration has handled foreign policy, I said what’s your biggest fear? What’s keeping you up at night? And all of them said you know, Obama’s got to be the worst poker player any of them have ever worked with. And I talked to people who had been in all those communities for decades. And they said you know, it was quite obvious that you had to, if you needed Obama’s help, you had to trick him into working with you. And that is, has become my biggest fear, is that the way to get the United States to do something you wanted it to do is to fool them into doing it. And that was the basis for the new novel, was how would you trick America into taking a bigger role in Syria? And that was how I came up with the idea for Foreign Agent.
HH: Well, it is brilliantly executed, and it makes me rethink all that we have done. There is on the web this morning from Dr. Partizan, Dr. Partizan is a Kurdish militant, and he has posted pictures of American Special Forces outside of Raqqa assisting the Kurds as they move in the ISIS headquarters. In other words, we are deep into the suck in Syria here, which is the premise of Foreign Agent, what the Russians want us to be.
BT: Absolutely, and you know, one of the things that I uncovered when I was doing this book, Hugh, was that probably the biggest mistake that the Obama administration made was not, they put Joe Biden in charge of negotiating the Status of Forces Agreement. And the fact that we did not negotiate one meant that we pulled out of Syria, Iraq. Status of Forces was for Iraq, but we pulled out of that area and let our human intelligence networks wither on the vine. I mean, we left incredible Iraqi men and women who had been just amazing sources of intelligence for us. We just left them high and dry. And the idea that we might need them again never occurred to the Obama administration. It’s as if they close their eyes tight enough, all the problems will go away. And I’ve drawn a lot of comparisons just offline to what’s happening on the south side of Chicago. This seems to be the Obama administration policy. Close your eyes, and the bad things won’t happen.
HH: Well, in Foreign Agent, people cannot walk away from this novel without rethinking what is happening and what is going on in Syria, and especially Putin, and what, how Russia operates. You go back into sort of the Cold War mindset. There was a golden age of thrillers, Brad Thor, and we’ve talked about this before – Le Carre, and all those who operated in the 60s and the 70s writing about the Soviet Union and the KGB, but they’re back, and they’re back in the GRU and in their new state security operatives. And you suggest that there are competitions within that world that spill over into the international arena. How much does that get confirmed to you by your active sources within the community?
BT: Well, first and foremost, when I meet young writers, and they say should I write romance, should I write mysteries, should I write thrillers, I tell people write what you love to read, because that’s where your passion is. And for me, I grew up on those Cold War thrillers, so I grew up reading Freddie Forsythe and Le Carre and Clancy. And that’s where my passion is. So I’m a voracious consumer of news, and you and I particularly have a dear friend in common. It’s really funny. I went to a dinner after a book signing and sat down with a gentleman that I’d gotten reacquainted with later in life, and realized we had been neighbors in college, Robert O’Brien, who I think is a brilliant, brilliant man.
HH: He is.
BT: And we spent a lot of time talking about what if this, what if that? And I think that’s probably the biggest thrill of being a thriller writer is what if things happened this way? What if they went like this? And so when I look at the world of international relations, I can’t help but say all right, this is what we’re seeing on the news, but what possibly is going on behind the scenes? And that gets me asking certain questions. Again, I like to talk to people who are actively in the diplomatic world, the intelligence world. And all of this behind the scenes stuff, all of the layers that I peel back in the book, it’s all based on reality. It’s based on people at the State Department. It’s based on people at the CIA. All of this stuff has its roots in the real world.
HH: Brad Thor, I hope everyone reads Foreign Agent. I want them to go an preorder it so it gets to their doorstep on June the 14th when it’s released. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention to people I’ve been touting you for the Libertarian Party nomination for president, because you don’t like Donald Trump, and you don’t like Hillary Clinton. I think we could make a run of Thor/Somebody. It can’t be Guy Benson. He’s not Constitutionally eligible to be your vice president, unfortunately, and you’re a Constitutionalist.
BT: (laughing) Well, I want Guy to at least be on the team of advisors, but I think, I think now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their nation, not just their party. But I am taking a stronger and stronger look at the Libertarian Party. And at some point, Hugh, you know, I would love to have a discussion with you about judicial supremacy, because this election, as you have so rightly pointed out, will affect the balance of the Supreme Court. And I would love to speak with you more about that.
HH: We will do that, but I need you to get to Orlando and get the nomination for the Libertarian Party. Let me ask you this. I put this to you bluntly. Who do you believe at this point, and it could change, would be the better commander-in-chief for an American military in the field – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, because that is the choice right now.
BT: Wow, that is such a, I don’t know, did you read the article in Foreign Affairs about the Latin American Caudillos?
HH: No, no, but I’ve heard the argument that Chavez is the model.
BT: Right. It’s Chavez, it’s Peron. So there is at one point where I said I thought Donald Trump was a great addition to the Republican primary if he was drawing attention to kind of core Republican principles. And so I’ve now retracted that, because Trump is all about Trump. So my biggest, my thing is liberty is my litmus test. So I have to look at who is the best harbormaster for the next four years to watch out for liberty. And I just see the potential for tyranny with Trump, and it’s crazy. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but Trump is not the person I want in the White House and I can’t stand Hillary. So I’m in a very, very difficult position in this election.
HH: But don’t you think we have to actually make a choice between those two? Because I think as a citizen, especially a civilian, I owe the active duty military the best commander-in-chief of those who could possibly be the commander. I have to assess is that way, because civilians owe their men and women in uniform the better commander-in-chief. That’s how I look at this. And on that…
BT: Well, look, I’m hoping, and this is a big thing, because I talked to Rick Perry after he came out in favor of Donald Trump, and Governor Perry and I are very good friends. And I asked Governor Perry how the hell he could do that? How could you come out for the man that you called a cancer on conservatism? And he says Brad, I made a promise to our men and women in the military. Do you think they will be better off in a Trump administration without Rick Perry having their backs or with Rick Perry having their backs? So Rick Perry would be the guy I would want watching out for them. I’m dodging your question here. I just, Hugh, I’ve got to tell you, I’m very, very, I’m worried that in a Trump administration, he will come to the American people and say with the restraints placed on me by Congress and the Constitution, I can’t make America win again. So therefore, we need to suspend the restraints placed on me as president for six months, a year, whatever. I just see the potential for tyranny with a Trump administration, and that concerns me greatly. The guy has not moderated his tone, he’s not acted more presidential. And I don’t want a Caudillo in the White House. So it is a, it’s a, what do we say, a Hobson’s Choice with Trump or Hillary.
HH: And so how much heat have you taken for that position, because I saw you posted it on Facebook, and I know that the Trump fans are passionate about that. It must be incoming all the time.
BT: Hugh, Drudge, who I used to love, I used to go to the Drudge Report multiple times a day until Drudge refused to post the straw poll results from CPAC when Trump didn’t win. Drudge is so badly in the tank for Trump, I don’t even go to Drudge Report anymore, which as a conservative just pains me. It’s incoming. I was with Glenn Beck yesterday, and I was chatting about what would America have to do if Trump did suspend the Constitution? It was a hypothetical, and Drudge made it a headline. Glenn Beck and Brad Thor plotting assassination of Donald Trump.
BT: I mean, oh, it was the headline last night on Drudge. It’s crazy.
HH: Oh, my gosh. Oh, Brad. It is a weird year. It is the worst year of politics. And it’s not getting any better. Yesterday, the server report, and I’ll close here. You know so much about technology. It’s so much in Foreign Agent throughout the book. Any doubt in your mind that hostile foreign intelligence services surveilled Secretary Clinton’s private server?
BT: Oh, absolutely not, and people I talk to at the CIA who love David Petraeus, and there were plenty that didn’t love David Petraeus. By the way, when you dig in, David Petraeus, there’s a lot of people in the services who didn’t like him. But they said it is absolutely insane that Hillary is walking around on this side of the bars and not wearing a jumpsuit.
HH: Wow, wow. Brad Thor, great to talk to you. I hope you’ll come back when the book actually comes out. Foreign Agent can be preordered right now from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, all those different sites, or just go to www.bradthor.com. It’s www.bradthor.com to get your preorder. Good to talk to you, Brad.
End of interview.