Mercury Confidential: Which member of TheBlaze team briefed the president on national security?

by Meg Storm

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at Mercury Radio Arts? Just how do all of Glenn’s crazy ideas get done? Does anyone ever get a chance to sleep? Well, over the next few months we are going to take you inside MRA, giving you the inside scoop on everything from publishing to special events, 1791 to TheBlaze. We will be interviewing members of our New York, Columbus, and Dallas staff, bringing you all the info, so you can know what it’s really like to work for Glenn.

Catch Buck on Real News, weeknights at 6pm ET only on TheBlaze TV. You can listen to The Buck Sexton Show Saturdays at 12pm ET on TheBlaze Radio Network.

Not many people can say they have briefed the president of the United States in the Oval Office. Even fewer people can say they briefed the president of the United States on matters of national security in the Oval Office at 26-years-old. But, during his time in the CIA, that was just another day at the office for TheBlaze’s Buck Sexton.

“I did run Oval Office intelligence briefings for the president on subjects that I had particular expertise in,” Buck said during an interview in TheBlaze newsroom. “That was the president, the vice president, the national security advisor, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, so essentially some of the biggest government national security figures. That was really cool. I think I was 26 the first time I briefed the president.”

Since joining TheBlaze in the summer of 2011, Buck has accumulated quite a few projects. After being hired as National Security Editor of TheBlaze.com, Buck became a regular contributor on TheBlaze TV before joining the Real News panel full-time. More recently, Buck added a three-hour weekly radio show to his repertoire. He hosts The Buck Sexton Show live from the ‘Freedom Hut’ high above Times Square, Saturdays from 12pm to 3pm ET on TheBlaze Radio Network.

So how exactly does one make the jump from working in the Iraq and Afghanistan offices of the CIA to working for TheBlaze? For Buck, it was a bit of a winding road.

“I grew up here in NYC. I was born and raised on the East Side here in town,” Buck explained. “I went to St. David’s, which was a school on the East Side as well. We all had to wear a jacket and tie. It was a fun little place. Then I went to Regis High School.”

It was during his time at Regis, a tuition-free, all-boys Jesuit high school in Manhattan, that Buck began to realize his interest in politics. “Regis was amazing. That was where I first started to realize that I was different from other people in how I view things – in so far as I was more conservative,” he said. “It was not a hostile place for conservatives though. There was a strong Christian ethos behind it.”

While his high school may not have been an unfriendly place for conservative thinkers, his college experience was a little different. Buck attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, and it took just a couple of hours on campus for him to realize what he was in for.

“That was a real wake up call from the very beginning. And when I say, ‘from the very beginning,’ I mean from day one,” he recalled. “At our first events I was hearing all these things I had never really been exposed to before, even though I had grown up in New York. All of a sudden I am being told about white male patriarchy, and Western culture hegemony, and all these kind of pre-packaged ideologies that they just hammer in. I felt under assault from the beginning. I stuck it out though.”

As a right-leaning student on a left-leaning college campus, it is often easiest to just sit back and bite your tongue. But then came the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, an event that would prove to shape Buck’s thinking and career.

“All classes were canceled and everyone was kind of walking around in a haze,” Buck said of September 11. “And they held the only all-school assembly that happened while I was there. We gathered in the auditorium. I remember the president [of Amherst], who was kind of a slimy used-car salesman, got up and said something like, ‘We are gathering as a community…’ And then a professor stood up and said, ‘This is what happens when you make people angry.’ And essentially launched into – what I would hear a lot more of – which was that the attacks were a response to U.S. aggressions abroad.”

“I actually stood up and walked out, along with a few of my friends who were, if not conservative, at least sane. After that it was pretty much on,” he continued. “I had thoughts about going to join the military. I had thoughts of leaving Amherst, right after September 11, and serving and then trying to come back and finish my degree at some point.”

Instead, Buck decided to utilize his unique academic background, which included Arabic studies. “For someone who already had some Mid East politics background, who was already studying Arabic at the time, the opportunities were huge,” Buck explained. He spent time at several prominent foreign policy Think Tanks, including the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the American Enterprise Institute, and Council on Foreign Relations.

Those experiences ultimately groomed Buck for his very first job out of college at the CIA. After graduating Amherst with a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, Political Science in 2004, “it was a pretty straight shot into the CIA,” Buck said. “The first job I applied for my senior year – the first application I sent out – was the CIA. I got it. It took about a year to get through the clearance process, to get through the background checks and everything else.”

There isn’t a whole lot he can talk about from his four years in the CIA. He was first assigned to the Counterterrorism Center, which he described as the “tip of the spear for anti-Al Qaeda efforts in the intelligence community.” After about a year there, he was moved to the Iraq office for a couple of years before arriving at the Afghanistan office in 2009. Part of the job included spending time in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I was in the CIA a little over four years, and it was time to either get an advanced degree or at least figure out what I wanted to do,” Buck said. He ended up back to New York City as a member of the NYPD Intelligence Division, which specializes in counterterrorism work. “I worked at NYPD Intelligence for something like 18 months total,” he said. “During that period, I officially resigned from the CIA because I knew I wasn’t going to go back to D.C.”

If Buck’s time at Amherst served as a philosophical awakening to the tactics of the progressive left, working for the government was a pretty eye-opening lesson in why bigger doesn’t always mean better.

“I have very little faith or trust in the government. I believe in a government that is very simple and straightforward in task, and has the consent of the American people, and is rooted in Constitutional authority. As opposed to, now it is sort of a free-for-all power grab. I think we are much closer to that than people realize,” Buck said. “They are very quiet about it, but there are other quasi-anarchist libertarians running around the federal government. I have some friends who are still on the inside, and they won’t leave because they are well compensated and senior in the ranks now, but they secretly think it is a bloated monstrosity. People have no idea how much goes into it.”

After leaving the NYPD, Buck was accepted to New York University’s Stern School of Business, and he had all intentions of going, until a chance conversation led him to TheBlaze.

Buck was introduced to Betsy Morgan, President and Chief Strategy Officer of TheBlaze, through a mutual friend, and after learning more about his background, Betsy invited Buck to TheBlaze offices for a meeting.

“The first time I showed up in TheBlaze office [in the summer of 2011], there was nothing here. I met with Betsy in some office where all there were two sort of random chairs and a card table,” Buck said laughing. “We had our meeting and she started talking to me. And she basically told me that I should come to work here and not go to business school. I thought about it – I didn’t really want to go to business school.”

“I had always wanted to do conservative media. I was known in the CIA for both being avidly conservative and doing impressions of all the senior CIA officials, which I would do for people. That was nothing new for me,” he continued. “The opportunity for me to come here and do media was cool. It was a risk professionally, for sure, but risk was not something I was averse to before hand. And I am not averse to it now.”

Buck forewent NYU and joined TheBlaze as National Security Editor. From there, he started doing some commentary on GBTV [now TheBlaze TV]. He is now a regular panelist on Real News, which airs weeknights at 6pm ET on TheBlaze. And his gig on Real News led to “me telling the radio people I wanted to do a radio show,” he explained. And that led to the birth of The Buck Sexton Show on TheBlaze Radio Network.

“So now I am doing the radio show, Real News, and I am still national security editor of TheBlaze,” Buck said. “That is pretty much the soup to nuts.”

Media presented Buck with a unique challenge, considering his background in the intelligence community had basically trained him to avoid journalists at all costs. “Not only did I have no TV experience, I was actually trained to avoid journalists like they were radioactive. I was trained to not say anything,” Buck explained. “But at the Agency, we had a lot of training in how to present material, breakdown really complex material so people could digest what you are telling them. That was incredibly helpful for the job, but it was a huge mindset shift. I went from an office where you couldn’t bring your cell phone into the building with you, and to do so was a serious security violation, to an office where there are live video cameras around me and microphones everywhere. Psychologically, it was a pretty big shift.”

It was right around the time Buck really began to settle into his new job on Real News that the opportunity to host a weekly radio program presented itself. “I love hosting the radio show. I really view it as sort of a one-on-one conversation. That is kind of the embodiment of how I think of everybody who is listening. I refer to them affectionately as ‘Team Buck,’” he said. “My approach to the show has always been: I want to do the radio show I would want to listen to.”

Buck has quickly been able to cultivate a relationship with his audience by utilizing the immediate feedback mechanisms radio offers. Aside from the standard practice of taking viewer phone calls, Buck live tweets during his show and that feedback often influences the course of the show. “So when I say it is a conversation with the audience, it really is,” he reiterated. “I have a representative sample of who’s listening and what they want to hear.”

One of the primary differences Buck has noticed between radio and TV is the rhythm. While the Real News panel is “fun” and “lively,” television seldom provides the time to really dig deep into a topic. “In television, I have found that you have to throw punches right away. Not meaning you are going after people, but you have to give your best stuff,” Buck said. “You have to launch in with something that is worthwhile, interesting, moving the conversation, adding to the conversation.”

Radio, on the other hand, allows time to offer an idea but then build and construct a narrative around that hook. “I am somebody who suffers from an excess of analytic thinking, I suppose,” Buck explained. “I kind of bring my best stuff every night on Real News – try to just get out the most interesting thought or question or insight that I can offer at that time. And then, come the radio show, I can go broader or deeper and add all that together and synthesize something that is even more in-depth.”

The benefit of having a weekly show is the ability to really pre-plan the topics for the program in a way a daily show could not. Instead of relying on the news-of-day, Buck spends his week curating the best and most interesting stories he can find. Borrowing a phrase from the CIA, he looks at each program as a ‘deep dive.’

“Every day is prep essentially, as I view it,” he said. “I can really pick the subjects through the week and put together a ‘best of’ the week, which is a huge advantage for someone like me who wants to do a lot of in-depth analysis. I can really craft a three-hour narrative on Saturday. I call it the ‘deep dive’ with folks. It’s actually what we used to call big briefings in the CIA.”

If you are at all familiar with The Buck Sexton Show, you know that its breakout star has been a Soviet-inspired teddy bear. ‘Commie Bear,’ as it is affectionately referred to, adds a dose of jollity to the program. After covering a story on Real News that involved a Swedish advertising company infiltrating Belarusian airspace and dropping ‘Freedom Bears’ – little stuffed animals with messages of freedom written on them – over the country, Buck decided to parody the situation. Little did he know, his “joke story” would turn into an institution.

“That was a real story, and I figured we would do a joke story in response that my contacts in government got me quick access to the Soviet reaction to the ‘Freedom Bear,’ which is ‘Commie Bear,’” Buck said. “And from there, it just kind of took off. I thought it would be a joke segment we would do once or twice, and now it is at the point where, if I go two radio shows without doing it, I start getting a lot of emails from people who are not asking but demanding that they want Commie Bear.”

Buck’s career has taken him to some of the most dangerous places on earth and exposed him to some of the country’s most sensitive intelligence information, but he has settled in quite nicely to his ever-expanding job at TheBlaze.

“I enjoy the media,” he said candidly, “and I think if you can enjoy your job then you picked the right one.”

Catch Buck on Real News, weeknights at 6pm ET only on TheBlaze TV. You can listen to The Buck Sexton Show Saturdays at 12pm ET on TheBlaze Radio Network.

 

 

A town in Sweden is under fire after denying requests to ring church bells in the 1990s and the 2000s but recently approving a mosque's request to conduct a weekly Islamic call to prayer.

RELATED: Media's anti-Israel, pro-Islam bias sweeps THIS fact under the rug

Authorities in the town of Vaxjo in southern Sweden have given the local mosque a one-year permit to recite the call to prayer every Friday for about four minutes. But Fr. Ingvar Fogelqvist of St. Michael's, the local Catholic church located about a mile from the mosque, says similar requests to ring church bells were denied.

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this story and favorable bias toward the Muslim faith. The issue isn't that the Islamic call to prayer is allowed; it's that all religions are not being treated equally.

Somebody might want to check the temperature in hell, it might be just a tad chillier than normal.

If you missed Friday's episode of The Glenn Beck Program, you missed something you probably never thought you'd see in this timeline or any other. Glenn actually donned President Trump's trademark red "Make America Great Again" hat and laid out the case for why he thinks Trump will win in a landslide in 2020.

RELATED: The media's derangement over Trump has me wearing a new hat and predicting THIS for 2020

Bottom line: Nancy Pelosi and the mainstream media may have pushed Glenn to this point, but believe it or not, Trump's record will make this next election a walk in the park for number 45. At this point, the sitting president has done enough to earn even Glenn's vote.

Glenn broke down what he thought were the 10 biggest campaign promises that — unlike those made by most politicians — Trump actually kept.

10. Impose a 10% repatriation tax to bring jobs back to America

Not all of Trump's promises were good ones, but regardless of what the consequences may be — he did keep this one.

"Now, I think this one is dangerous," Glenn said on radio Friday. "He did it. Ten percent. Bring all of your money back into the United States. It will create jobs. Yes. It will also create inflation. But it's creating jobs."

9. Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

This has been one of Trump's most passionate issues.

"The stop the TPP. Uh-huh. Right. Sure you are. Uh-huh. Yes. He did," Glenn admitted.

8. Withdraw from the disastrous Paris Climate Accord

Glenn found himself eating crow on this.

"I'm on record saying he will never do that because his daughter is a huge global warming person and he only listens to the family. Eh. Wrong," Glenn said with a puff of crow feathers coming from his mouth.

7. Bring North Korea to the table and rein them in

This looked impossible. Not so.

"'I'm going to bring North Korea to the table.' Are you? Everybody has tried to do that," Glenn said. "Now, they're at the table. We don't know what's going to happen. So the result of that is unknown. But has anybody else done that?"

6. Stop over-regulation and jump-start the economy

It's the economy, stupid.

"Does anybody feel like America is beginning to get on track somewhat economically? You know why? Because he fulfilled another promise," Glenn said. "Stop over-regulating the American people. Give them their money. Give the companies the opportunity to expand and bring their money back into the country, and maybe they'll build buildings. Maybe they'll build offices. Maybe they'll build new products. Maybe they'll build new factories. Maybe they'll hire a bunch of people."

Glenn went on.

"Now, I know Seattle is trying to do everything they can to make sure everybody in their city is homeless and unemployed, but the rest of the country is enjoying the feeling of, wow, maybe things are going to be okay."

5. Reverse Obama's executive orders

If you're like Glenn, you've gotten used to politicians promising "no new taxes," but you can really tell they're lying if their lips are moving. Guess what? That's apparently not Trump.

"The executive orders? Yeah. He's reversed a lot of Obama's executive orders," Glenn said. "These are outrageous promises."

4. Pull out of the Iran nuclear deal

No big deal...

"'I'm going to cancel the Iran Deal.' Yep. None of these are small. You know, I've got maybe ten minutes. I think we can get that done in the first term. And they did," Glenn said.

3. Give tax cuts to middle-class Americans

Maybe this could have been better, but we'll take it.

"I don't like the tax cut. I think he could go a lot further," Glenn said. "But that's not even his job. His job is to sign things that Congress puts in front of him. Not to design it. You Republicans in Congress, you disgust me. You disgust me. 'Imagine what we could do if we had the House and the Senate and the White House.' I can imagine what you'll do — nothing. You'll do nothing."

2. Change strategy and defeat ISIS

The mainstream media have been radio silent on this.

"How about the president's — well, I know I can defeat ISIS. I know I can do it. I'll defeat ISIS. He did," Glenn said. "And did you notice no one in the press even talked about it? All of a sudden, we're not talking about ISIS anymore. How come? Oh, I know. President Trump. That's why."

1. Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy

This one is a true game-changer.

"Now, every president will say to you, when he's running, 'I'm going to make Jerusalem the home.' Well, really? The home of the embassy. Really, are you? Because everybody says that, nobody does it. He did it," Glenn said. "And I think that's going to go down as the biggest game-changer possibly in my lifetime. This is going — it already is — it is changing the game in Iran."

Glenn continued.

"And when it does, this president is going to come out and say something directly to those people, that we support them," he said. "And that's going to add fuel to the fire. And you might see a regime change and a collapse of the Islamic regime in Iran. And it will be 100 percent Donald Trump that made that responsible. One hundred percent. You're going to see changes because of this. He kept that promise. A promise I said, he's not going to do that. Nobody is going to do that. He did."

One chapter of ISIS has ended, but another may be starting

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

For the most part, ISIS has fallen in Syria and Iraq. But before we celebrate the demise of this awful terrorist group, before we let our guard down, we should zoom out a bit, because ISIS is spreading. ISIS has largely just scattered out of the region as if someone turned on the kitchen lights and they scrambled.

RELATED: It IS About Islam: This Is a War Against Evil

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Nanyang University in Singapore. “Although Islamic State's ideology has suffered, it still has a huge potential," he told them. “Islamic State has entered a phase of global expansion, very much the same way al Qaeda extended globally in late 2001."

ISIS has spread into West Africa, and throughout much of Southeast Asia, and, as is typical of ISIS, they have done it violently, with a sick venom.

The world is their potential rubble, and their fight is endless.

Again, from the Wall Street Journal: “One chapter of ISIS has finished and another is beginning," said Hassan Hassan, a specialist on Islamic State at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington. “Their resurgence is coming sooner than expected."

The world is their potential rubble, and their fight is endless.

'The Handmaid's Tale' got it right, just with the wrong religion

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Just in case The Handmaid's Tale's heavy-handed message wasn't already heavy-handed enough, a recent episode made it clear there's always room for further hysteria. Particularly, in relation to depictions of a “patriarchal society" run by Christian doctrine and determined by men — oh those dastardly men.

RELATED: Christian privilege is the new white privilege

The show appropriates Margaret Atwood of the same name, depicting a totalitarian society led by Christian doctrine in which women's bodies are controlled, and they have no rights. The story sounds familiar, but not in the same way Atwood and the show's creators have so smugly assumed.

Just as tone-deaf as 4th wave feminism itself, and tone-deaf in all the exact same places. Most notably, the show's heavy-handed indignation toward Christianity. Toward the patriarchy. Toward conservatives and traditional values. And just like 4th wave feminism, the show completely overlooks the irony at play. Because there is a part of the world where women and children are being raped and mutilated. In fact, in this very real place, the women or girls are often imprisoned, even executed, for being raped, and they are mutilated in unspeakable ways.

Theirs is a cruel, bloody, colorless life.

There is a place, a very real place, where women are forced to cover their entire bodies with giant tarp-like blankets, which is all the more brutal given the endless heat of this place. There is a place where women literally have one-third of the rights of men, a place where women are legally, socially and culturally worth less than men.

They cannot drive cars. They cannot be outside alone. They cannot divorce, they cannot even choose who they marry and often, they are forcibly married at a young age.

They are raped. A lot. Theirs is a cruel, bloody, colorless life. This is the life of tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of women. And, I'll tell you, their religion isn't Christianity.