Fresh off his dangerous and controversial trip to Iraq, Jason Butrill with TheBlaze sat down with Glenn to give a firsthand account of his experience on the ground --- from shooting at ISIS, which he now regrets, to bringing Glenn a bible used as target practice by ISIS.
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: I want to start with a little bit of controversy that happened mainly in the media, but also the -- the right of the country was fed fake news. And about me. And said that I fired a guy on my staff for shooting at ISIS. As evidence, I have not fired the guy because he is sitting right here. Jason Buttrill who is our chief researcher and our writer for many of the programs. Did the root. And goes out into the field and tries to find the things that others are missing.
And I want to start with just 60 seconds on the controversy.
You went over and you were on your own. You were not with the journalist at the time. Right?
GLENN: And what happened?
JASON: Yeah. So we were out on our own. We were chasing the story that you were talking about. We were having a considerable hard time getting it because the Iraqi army is now in control of the final like checkpoint lines to actually get into Mosul. So we were having a lot of problems. But I was out searching for another story about the tunnels that we talked about.
JASON: And there did come a time when ISIS was in the distance. And I did take some shots at ISIS. I -- I -- I didn't think about how the perception was in making it public and what it looked like. And that -- I'm a part of a media organization. And, you know, there are journalists all over the country that are -- that are showing -- or that are doing great work, especially in combat zones. And I didn't think about what that does to them all over the world.
JASON: It puts them in danger. I'm not a combatant. And I shouldn't have engaged.
GLENN: And you're not a journalist.
JASON: I'm not a journalist. But the appearance.
GLENN: But the appearance was that you were a journalist, and that's what ISIS says -- is that ISIS will say, "I can shoot a journalist because they're -- you know, they're really combatants under disguise."
GLENN: And that's not true. You're not a journalist. I didn't send you over as a journalist. You're a researcher. But you shouldn't have done that. And you -- I've known you for a long, long time, you've had the snot kicked out of you from this. And this deeply affected you.
JASON: Yeah. Yeah.
GLENN: Learned your lesson?
JASON: Absolutely. Yeah. I -- I don't know if you can be trained to handle something like this. Like I said, my mind was just going crazy after this. I more felt bad for -- when I was reading everything -- I did feel bad for journalists all over the world covering these stories. I was worried about what I did to them. But I was worried what I did to the organization. The organization has been great. Like I said, I was not fired. But, yeah, it's -- it's behind me. I'm definitely moving forward. I'm a better person now.
GLENN: Good. Thank you.
Can you tell me now what you saw?
GLENN: First of all, isn't this -- because I wore one of those scarfs once, and I was told I'm now part of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. You're wearing a scarf.
GLENN: And I like them. Pat would call it an ascot. And I like them. But I've worn it once on television, and everyone said, "Oh, really? You're for Lebanon."
PAT: It's only an ascot when you wear it the way you do it. He's not wearing it as if it were an ascot.
JEFFY: That's correct.
STU: Yeah, he looks cool in it. You look really ridiculous.
GLENN: He's wearing it wrong. He's wearing it wrong.
JASON: I think it depends on the designs and everything.
But this is actually a Kurdish scarf. And they use it to put around their heads. To keep the wind and sand out. But this is Kurdish. And it's crazy cool. I kind of like it.
GLENN: I like it too.
So what did you find?
JASON: We found -- I was chasing that story, when we kept getting stonewalled. And it was getting harder and harder.
In fact, the Iraqi military is making it very, very difficult for even the UN -- when I was getting denied to go into the middle of Mosul, the UN was also getting denied for moving in there.
They are keeping it very tight under the lid, as far as how much casualties that they're taking and as far as their defeats and losses. They're not letting any of that get out. The day I was --
GLENN: Which usually means that that's --
PAT: It's not going well.
JASON: Right. Well, that day, there was -- they shut us down, and 30 to 40 ambulances went speeding out of the front line area. It took a massive hit. That was the same day that we bombed that hospital. I don't know if you read about it a few days ago. Because they were trying to take the hospital which was a command center that ISIS was using. And they couldn't take it. And so we had to bomb it.
But, yeah, it's -- I would say it's a very mixed bag now as far as how the operation is actually going.
GLENN: I heard ISIS is moving back into -- they just moved back into Palmyra. They just retook Palmyra.
JASON: Yeah. That shows you exactly what, you know, Assad and Putin want out of Syria. It's not to destroy ISIS or to fight ISIS, what they say.
They're there to once and for all defeat all the people -- what started as a protest during the Arab spring, they're there to defeat all those people. ISIS has nothing to do with it. That's ridiculous.
GLENN: What do you think about Tillerson? You had a long 30-hour flight back home. And I know you and I have done a lot of homework on Russia and Putin. We both are very clear, based on evidence and facts, on who he is, what he is -- what he really, truly believes.
Not a good guy. Here's Tillerson -- first of all, Donald Trump saying that 17 agencies -- and I think the agencies can be wrong. I mean, they have been wrong in the past.
So I don't want somebody just to take, "Well, the CIA said this is true. So it's true." Well, no. So let's reason. But we have 17 agencies all saying the same thing. We have Russia.
If I'm not mistaken, didn't Russia confirm in research that we have done -- haven't they said that they have their own, you know, disinformation farms?
GLENN: Right. So it's not a surprise -- this is the one conspiracy theory that Alex Jones just can't buy into. You know, chemicals that the government is using making frogs gay, he's all into. But this one, there's no way it can be true.
What do you think about the denial and also Tillerson?
JASON: I think Tillerson -- I'm trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt here.
Now, he's -- he's not doing -- he's not naming these people. And he's not pro-Russia on certain stances because he wants to enable Russia to be -- to take us over or whatever.
I do think that he's setting people up and setting a path forward to make a friendship actually possible. That's what I think.
Now, it could be to our detriment. But there are -- as I look back at foreign policy mistakes that we've made in the past, especially with Russia -- I mean, we've made severe mistakes going back to Clinton since the Yugoslav wars, when we completely cut them out. We pressed for NATO to go forward. And that further backed them into a corner.
The sanctions were warranted, but that was -- a lot of that was -- you know, because Bush was going for an antiballistic missile shield in eastern Europe. So there's a lot of things that have pushed Russia into a corner and have made them an enemy.
Now, if his strategy and coming up with people that understand Russia -- you know, and I hate -- personally, I don't want a Secretary of State that has been labeled and given a medal for being a friend of any country. I don't like that.
But if he's setting it up to where he's saying, "Look, we're going to make some concessions, but we're looking for concessions to you." Like, how about, get out of the propaganda campaign in Europe. Stop funding some of these far-right movements throughout the world.
GLENN: But he won't even admit that there is anything like that going on.
JASON: Yeah. I --
GLENN: I mean, you know, if you don't -- if you won't say -- you want to take a stand and say, look, let's look into that. Let's look into that. And have somebody else make the case. And then be the broker of the deal saying, "Look, I've got 17 agencies here that say it's true. I want to believe you. Why don't we just do something where it's trust and verify. Get out of that business. You say you're not. But we know you are over in Europe. So get out of that business."
JASON: What's scary to me about it is, I can see if he's just not saying anything publicly about it. Basically kind of -- not confirming that that's -- that Putin is meddling in elections all over the world. I can see him not coming at that publicly. But what it sounds like is that he's just denying or dismissing actual intelligence reports.
JASON: Just because it's not convenient for him at the time. That's extremely dangerous. I just don't -- I refuse to believe he's that stupid. There's got to be more going on than what we think.
There's so many ways that he can come out and be fine with this. He just refuses to do this diplomatically. He could just say, "Yes, they were involved. Now, I don't support that. I shouldn't have said, give me the 30,000 emails. You know, I don't support that. But we also can't turn a blind eye to the -- these are facts that they brought up about Hillary Clinton.
Yes, they were involved in exposing them through WikiLeaks. But, you know, we can't turn a blind eye to the actual facts. They reveal a truth, but they shouldn't have done it.
You can easily say that and be done with it.
GLENN: What happens to Russia with Syria? What's going to happen with Syria now?
JASON: It's a mess. I don't think it will ever be what it ever was.
You have a significant Kurdish problem in the north. It's a problem for Assad. They're not going anywhere. That's probably the next fight.
They'll probably turn towards the Kurds before they turn towards ISIS. I mean, just --
GLENN: You can't go after the Kurds. The Kurds are -- the Kurds are the best in the Middle East, next to Israel. The Kurds get it. The Kurds are our friends. And we will abandon them yet again.
JASON: Yeah. Well, I -- there's a weird -- the two stepbrothers, the Kurds in Syria and the Kurds in Iraq, are a little bit different. They even speak a different language. The problem is they're connected to the terrorist group in Turkey, the ones in Syria, which will significantly hurt how we operate with them in the future. Right now, we are operating with them. But that's going to be a huge mess with Turkey going forward.
But I fully expect Assad to turn on the Kurds next, which means we have operators fighting along with the Kurds, some of our own. That's going to be a huge deal. I mean, we're going to have Russian planes bombing those guys while our guys are standing right next to them. I haven't even heard them address that fact right now. But that's going to be a significant problem.
But I still would not be surprised if ISIS morphs into something else later on. It becomes some other Islamic republic right there in the middle of Syria. But you could see three separate countries right now in Syria.
GLENN: Last thing, you brought home a Bible that was being used by ISIS as target practice.
JASON: This -- one of the main stories you're going to see come from my trip is the urban warfare now on the outskirts of Mosul. This Bible was used as target practice on the inside.
This hadn't even been swept for TNT or IEDs yet. So we literally had to follow a guy in. He said we were crazy, but we had to step where he was stepping as he was going through this church.
There were still wires, IED wires that were still attached to TNT as we were walking through this. No other media organization has walked through that. No other foreigner has walked through that church, but now that Bible is from that church.
I was blown away. Like, ISIS does not exist above -- up in the sunlight. They don't walk around through the streets. They go in tunnels. They go from house to house to house to house. They just travel through tunnels. And that's how they are in ISIS right now. But we're going to show you all those tunnels, where you actually walk through those tunnels.
GLENN: When is that? Is that after the 1st of the year?
GLENN: Jason, I appreciate it. And sorry that the trip was so -- I mean, you shot yourself in the foot, so to speak.
JASON: But I'm glad that you learned. And I'm glad that you're back, and we pray that the -- we pray for the safety, as you know, because you -- you guarded my family for several years. And you know my family praise for all the soldiers and press and everybody who is in harm's way every night. And we continue to do that. And good to have you back.
GLENN: Thank you very much.
Featured Image: Glenn displays a bible shot by ISIS, brought back from Iraq by Jason Buttrill.