GLENN: Welcome to the program, Mr. Brad Thor.
BRAD: Hello, Glenn.
GLENN: How are you, Brad?
BRAD: How are you, my friend?
GLENN: I'm good. How are you?
BRAD: I'm excellent. And thank you for your praise of this book.
You know, the entire time I was writing it with my Navy SEAL protagonist who was working for the CIA. I just said, "You know what, what might Pat do in this situation, you know, or Stu or Jeffy?
GLENN: Right. Right.
BRAD: Dropped in a dangerous foreign country, what might they do? And they were really my North Star.
GLENN: It was the --
PAT: That's understandable.
JEFFY: You're welcome. I know.
GLENN: Because I read the book. It was to point you in the direction of, don't go there, right?
BRAD: Right. Right. It was kind of the George Costanza thriller this year. Just go the opposite direction. Opposite direction.
GLENN: Right. Right.
Brad, I want to talk to you about a lot of things. How much time do we have? Do we have quite a bit of time?
BRAD: I'm as you need. No. Let's -- everybody else can wait. I want to do this --
GLENN: We had such a good conversation yesterday. And it happens to people -- I know. It happens to people all the time where they're on Jimmy Kimmel or something. And Jimmy will just stall and stall and stall then the guest walks out halfway through and is like, "Oh, sorry. I forgot." You know. So --
BRAD: Hey, man. Sorry. Thanks for coming on, man. That's all the time we have today.
GLENN: Brad -- what did you say?
BRAD: No, that's what Jimmy says to Matt, when he cheats him out of time. But we'll have you back.
GLENN: Yeah, yeah. We'll have you back.
Brad, in reading the book, there's a couple of things that I'd like to talk about and not really give away the plot of the book. Because everybody has to discover it themselves
But you are talking at the beginning about the -- the way these -- I guess what you call refugee ships are being packaged over in the Middle East. Who is packaging them? And how they're doing it. And it is obscene.
BRAD: Yeah, it's bad.
GLENN: I mean, I have not yet -- and you would think with liberals, you would see these kinds of reports. I have not seen reporting like this at all. Is that really the way it happens?
BRAD: It is. And I have to tell you, there is a lovely, lovely reporter at the Daily Beast. I give her a big shout-out. Two big shout-outs actually in the acknowledgments of this book, that is the Rome Bureau Chief for the Daily Best.
And I reached out to her. Befriended her on social media. And she was incredibly helpful. Because I was reading her articles about the refugees, the connection with the Mafia and ISIS. And you're the one that coined the term faction, Glenn. And what I do is faction. Where you don't know where the facts end and the fiction begins. But the refugee crisis and how ISIS is using it and how the Mafia is even involved, and how they're smuggling weapons into Europe for terrorist attacks is amazing. But this person, Barbie, at the Daily Beast in Rome couldn't have been nicer. She really was terrific.
GLENN: And she has to be brave. Really brave.
BRAD: Oh, yeah.
GLENN: Explain a little -- without giving, you know, any of this away, because it's so great the way you lay it out, but explain what's happening with the refugees.
BRAD: So in -- in my thriller, the way it kicks off is, in real life, we discovered a laptop in a terrorist safe house. And when they opened it up, it looked like it had just come from Best Buy. Never been used. But when they drilled down, they found real life all of these chilling plots, things they had planned for Dallas and New York and Rome and Paris and London. And the CIA never caught the guy.
And so I had been reading Barbie's stuff on the Daily Beast about the refugee crisis. I'm concerned. ISIS has threatened to sneak people into Europe -- terrorists in via the refugee crisis on these boats.
And I started reading about it and looking. And these smugglers are bad. I mean, they are putting people -- I mean, people are suffocating in the holds of these fishing boats that are not even seaworthy. It's bad.
GLENN: It is -- it is worse than the slave trade ever was.
BRAD: Yes. They are torturing and raping people. They are splitting families up and deciding, you get to go to Europe. But we're going to keep your daughter and your wife here. There are people that have never captained a boat before. And they're putting a Kalashnikov to guys' heads saying, okay. You, who paid us your life savings to go to Europe, you're going to pilot this boat. And they give them enough fuel to just get outside the territorial waters of Libya, and then they hand them -- they've given them a satellite phone with one phone number preprogrammed into it. And that is the Italian Coast Guard. And these boats are sinking. And thousands of people are dying -- it is a humanitarian -- I mean, it is beyond barbaric, beyond horrific what is going on.
And I just thought, you know, this to me was fascinating. And if I can, through my thriller, bring a little light to this and how evil these smugglers are and how well-connected they are with ISIS and the Mafia, I might be doing some good with it.
GLENN: So why are they putting these boats are that are just not seaworthy, not giving them enough fuel? Is it just to cause massive chaos on the seas so the boats and the refugees that are working with them get in?
BRAD: Well, it -- that is a big -- that is a big part of it. So they -- it's Libya, right? So they don't have like a great shipbuilding infrastructure there, and they're taking boats that even these poor fishermen won't use to go out and fish on anymore. And they're filling them full as many as they can, and they're just shoving them out. It is a money-making operation.
I mean, these -- you know, these guys are the scum of the earth. They are trading in human misery the things that these people go through -- and these refugees are trying to escape their countries to get a better life. We can argue about what the best way is to do it. But, you know, you've got these people -- women. If God forbid a woman is pregnant or menstruating with some of these Muslim men, they have thrown women over. I mean, bad stuff. Very, very bad.
So you go -- and I don't -- I don't want to give the story away. But I want to take you to one place that I just thought was riveting. Is when Scot comes in, the main character -- what is this, the 17th book with him?
BRAD: My 17th thriller. Yeah, yeah. And you can read them in any order. If you haven't read a Brad Thor book, you can start with Use of Force. You don't need to have read anything of mine before.
GLENN: So Scot is the main character. And he's going in to get a really bad guy. And he -- he goes into a store. I don't even remember where it was. Is it Libya. Where is it --
BRAD: With the satellite phones. Yeah, that would be the way you would track a smuggler down. Is if you found a satellite phone. You would want to know who sold it to whom, and you would pick up the trail there.
GLENN: Now, is -- just explain the store scene. Is that from real life?
BRAD: There's a lot of this that's real. So these smugglers all buy their satellite phones from the same company in the Emirates, because they have the best coverage over the Mediterranean. So give them that piece of humanity, that they actually want the satellite phone to work when the boat is sinking and these people are being fed upon by sharks. You know, you hope that the Italian Coast Guard, which is hours away, can find a way to rescue them.
So the scene with my guy -- so a terrorist mastermind's body washes ashore in Italy. The CIA panics, and they send Scot Harvath, my protagonist, out to retrace this guy's steps to say, what was he up to? And are we going to see some mega attacks in the US this summer? Go retrace his footsteps. And Harvath, knowing that these guys used the same satellite company, figures out who bought this satellite phone, and it tracks to a small electronic shop in Libya, which is based on a real little shop that was trafficking in these phones. And Harvath goes in to try to bribe this guy, give him cash first. And the guy won't take it. And in the middle of trying to convince this guy to give up the smuggler, Libya is overrun with different militia groups. I mean, they are a failed state. It is bad in Libya. Three militia members pull up outside to actually do a transaction with this guy. Now, Harvath is stuck. He's got three militia guys coming in. And what's he going to do? And it devolves very quickly, as these scenes do. And that scene was actually based on something one of my former special operation guys told me about.
GLENN: It was -- it's a pretty terrifying scene, the way Americans take charge. And then they take him out to get some information. And the technology that you describe is in some ways comforting. In other ways, absolutely horrifying. And I want to get to that here in just a second with Brad Thor.
The book is use of force. I want to talk to him about this. I want to talk to him about the assassination attempt in the ballpark a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps some of the cloak-and-dagger stuff that is happening now in Washington, DC. We'll get to that in just a second, when we come back.
GLENN: Welcome back with Brad Thor. Brad, explain the technology that you -- that you show in use of force. And I don't think this is going to surprise anyone. But it is the way your character uses it. Has it been used this way? What else -- what -- else is it used for? And explain it. Start there first.
BRAD: Okay. Are you referring to the way that Harvath breaks the satellite phone salesman?
BRAD: All right. So this is real. And this has been used by somebody that I know. And essentially, what he did was open up a laptop in front of the suspect -- he wasn't going to drill him through the kneecaps or anything. But positioned a drone over this guy's house and did a split screen that showed the guy's wife and kids basically in the backyard. And then showed a screen that's got the underbelly of the drone with the weapon's package so that he could say, "All right. Activate this hellfire missile," if you will. And basically terrified this guy into, if you don't give up the really bad dude you're working with, then we're going to kill your family. That was the threat, that we know where you live, we've got your wife and children in the cross-hairs, and you better give us this bad guy we want, or there's going to be trouble.
GLENN: So the way you wrote it -- that just doesn't sound -- that sounds amazing. But when you read it and the way he didn't believe it at first and then he went over -- the drone flew over his house -- flew over his store and he saw that it had been burned to the ground and he saw in realtime --
GLENN: And then the drone starts to fly over to the house and he starts to sweat, and he then sees his wife and his child step out on the back patio. It is -- it's quite terrifying.
How do you feel about that ethically?
BRAD: Well, I'll tell you, the guy in question -- and readers will get this. The guy in question is a really, really bad guy.
And the main character that's doing this to him has no intention to harm his wife or children. It's a psychological ploy here. And that's what we -- our men and women are away doing some of the country's most dangerous business. They have to make calls and have to decide how to do things.
GLENN: So hang on just a second. I don't have a problem if we are using that and we don't kill his family. But then how do you have any credibility -- I mean, he has to die at that point. If he says no, he has to die. Because he'll go back and say, "Hey, they used this ploy on me. They'll never use it."
BRAD: Right. It doesn't work. They don't follow through on it. They draw a line in the sand, and I jumped right over it, and there were no consequences.
GLENN: Yeah. Right. Right.
BRAD: Yeah, I mean, you would have to. And that's the benefit I get as a fiction author. I get to ultimately choose how the guy is going to react to this. But, again, it was from talking to someone who had done something similar and was able to assess what -- I mean, that's what they do. They look at these people that they have to interrogate and decide what's going to work with them. That -- the more information you can have about a subject before you even sit down to talk to them, the better off you're going to be.
BRAD: And sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures. That's a big thing I talk about in the book. It's like, okay. We're a nation of laws, not a nation of men. And we put rules on our intelligence services and our special operations community. And should they be allowed to cut corners?
And, you know, how desperate do things have to be? Is it worth it for one American life?
You and I talked about Benghazi. I don't care that they couldn't refuel jets. They should have been going supersonic with American jets from Italy over Benghazi, breaking every piece of glass in that town, and then run them until they run out of fuel and dump them in the med. And we'll pick up the pilots. We can build more planes.
BRAD: So I'm a big believer. And I think that's the fun part of my books, is you read these, and you're like, okay. Not only does that make sense, but I really hope that's what we're doing out there with the bad guys.
GLENN: So, Brad, we are looking at a much more dangerous world than we were when we first started talking. You and I were much more hypothetical, really, you know, when we started talking ten years ago on what this world could be like.
GLENN: Your book is now absolutely, these things are going on. And we are facing these kinds of threats. No doubt in mind that what you talk about with the refugees, what you show happening in Paris in your book, is absolutely happening right now.
Are you more optimistic or less optimistic than you were five or ten years ago on the state of the western world?
BRAD: I'm actually more optimistic on how we're going to combat it. Okay? I actually think -- and you know. I was not a Trump supporter. I worked on Rick Perry's campaign. My family and I pray for Donald Trump and the people around him on a daily basis, that they are going to be successful, because we'll all be successful.
GLENN: So are we. So are we. Yep.
BRAD: I actually think that that administration can take the big leaps and do the hard work that needs to be done. I number one think -- you know, we hear after the Orlando massacre, that this guy was on the FBI's radar. There wasn't enough to get him. So they had to let him go. Our intelligence services in the western world are drowning. We've got open ISIS cases in all 50 states in the US. It's happening in Brussels and in Great Britain. There's just not enough intelligence officers and police officers to follow these guys. And I think we need to lower the prosecutorial bar. We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to child porn. If you're surfing that stuff on the internet, you're going to jail. And I think we ought to identify the gateway drugs, the on-ramps for jihadism. I think we ought to make it a lot easier to prosecute these guys.
And if somebody even sleeps on your couch and you know that they're planning an attack, you ought to go away, not for years, but for decades. And if people die in that attack, you ought to go away for your entire life. Let's raise the price.
GLENN: Okay. I want to continue our conversation with Brad Thor. His new book is Use of Force. We're going to talk about what the Supreme Court did yesterday about bringing in refugees from other countries. We talk about that and so much more when we come back with Brad Thor.
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GLENN: I honestly think that the -- the best thinkers on the planet for geopolitical consequences and moves and countermoves, are the guys who write what I call faction. Fiction that is driven by the facts of today. People like Tom Clancy was, when I was growing up -- that's Brad Thor today.
You know, people -- the Russians actually thought he was a CIA plant, that they were -- that the CIA was trying to get Russia to think that that's how the Americans will move, because he was so accurate and spot-on.
Brad has been a good friend and adviser of mine for a while because the fiction writers -- this is what they have to do. And they have to make sense.
Real life doesn't have to make sense. Fiction has to make sense.
So, Brad, with that, let's war game a couple of things because I can't find a way out that I'm comfortable on a lot of these things. Let's start with North Korea. We have three carrier battle groups out now. The only time in history that that has ever happened, where we've had three. We've always gone to war.
We have Otto Warmbier, being drugged and beaten now, according to one general, that they used Sodium Pentothal on him so much, it addled his brain. They were beating him. They dumped him on our doorstep like a mob hit. And we -- they're also putting into production long-range missiles. And we don't really seem to have a line because the -- crossing that line for us is all bad stuff. What do we do?
BRAD: Well, I'll take it up another notch for you, to add to your anxiety over North Korea.
GLENN: Thank you.
BRAD: You know, a lot of people scoffed and laughed when they did their nuke tests, when they detonated underground. And said, wow, these are relatively small, low-yield things. Ha-ha-ha. They can't really build a serious big bomb.
Well, if you think they're going to put them on top of a missile, you may not be worried about, you know, this thing being equivalent to what the Russians have. But, you know, the North Koreans have put a couple of satellites into outer space. And if they put one of these low-yield bombs into a satellite and detonate it over the United States, the electromagnetic pulse is going to wipe us out. It's going to -- we're going to go back to the 1800s in the blink of an eye.
GLENN: Jeez, I haven't even thought of a satellite. Thank you, Brad. Thank you for that.
BRAD: Yeah. You're welcome. Sleep well tonight.
Tania, I'm sorry.
GLENN: I know. I don't sleep as it is. Now you give me that.
BRAD: As it is. I know. I know.
GLENN: Okay. So what do we do? What should we do?
BRAD: Well, so Kim Jong-un isn't the problem. It's the military and political structure that holds him up as a figurehead. The reason he's got that stupid haircut, is it's supposed to hearken back to the days of his grandfather.
BRAD: Which, interesting for me, is that they decided to assassinate his older half brother in an airport where they put up those two dupes, those massage -- masseuses or whatever it was, and they killed the older half-brother, which is a really interesting move. I don't know why they did that. What they were worried about, what kind of chess pieces were being moved.
GLENN: Weren't they sending a message to the West, first sending a message to their own people, look at what the West has done, but also maybe sending a message to his -- the people he's afraid of. That I'll get you wherever you are. And also, a message to the West, I don't care if you have it on tape. I'm not afraid. Possibility?
BRAD: Yeah, that's possible. No, it's totally possible. And it's possible that they were worried there was some plot afoot to overthrow things and to use the older half brother as somebody to install a new, more democratic regime there. I mean, it's hard to understand. They're nuts. They're absolutely nuts. And there isn't a good way out of this, particularly because you've got Seoul sitting on the other side of the DMZ. And Seoul -- when you think about it, with 11 million people there, they are the Israel of that area. There's bunkers underneath everything because they're worried about incoming from the North Koreans.
There is not a good way out of this. And it's another place -- you know, you would have thought that we had Saddam Hussein's inner circle very well penetrated before we went into the Gulf War scenario, and we didn't. And we're even more blind when it comes to North Korea. We need to get inside -- these guys all have skeletons in their closet, the generals and the politicos behind them. We need to work it from the inside out.
GLENN: Okay. So are a -- I've got a gun to your head. I'm forcing you to put your house down on the betting table. You bet this ends in our favor, or it ends with war?
BRAD: I think China goes in and does something. I think the Chinese are better equipped to overthrow that government. But the problem for China is they don't want the mass of humanity running in. That's the big thing. South Korea and the Chinese want to contain it. But my money would be on actually some sort of a coup and China being the brains behind it. That would be what I hope.
GLENN: Okay. All right. Next scenario. I've got two scenarios left here. Next one, Russia. The election. We know -- we've known forever they were going to try to influence our election. They are looking for chaos. They weren't trying to get Trump in. Although, they didn't like Hillary Clinton. That was an extra bonus. What they're trying to do is cause chaos and have us lose faith in our own system. And be able to manipulate.
We are arguing about politics. We're not really facing the problem, and that is that Russia -- Romney was right. Russia is our biggest geopolitical foe right now and is a direct threat to the United States.
How does this one end?
BRAD: Well, I'll tell you, I know what we should do, and it was Bill O'Reilly's idea. I don't think we should be -- I don't think American credit card companies should be honoring any transactions inside Russia. That would be devastating for them. Absolutely devastating. And if we can help drive down oil prices by flooding the market, that will also hurt Putin. He's only got the energy --
GLENN: We really are -- you know, our fracking, it was too late to stop -- the Saudis tried to stop us from fracking. It's already too late for that. And we are a big reason that oil prices are as low. They are in deep trouble, economically. Does that not make them more desperate?
BRAD: It's going to make them more desperate. But I think that with the internet and the ability of good Russian people to see stories about liberty and freedom from around the world, I think we should be fomenting unrest in Russia. We should be doing everything we can. You know what, you're going to do it to us? It's like the whole Untouchables thing. They send one of yours to the hospital, you send two of theirs to the morgue. I think we ought to outmanipulate them. But do it with the truth.
I think we should ignite the lamp of liberty in the hearts of the Russian people. Because once those lamps are lit, there is no extinguishing it. And let's beat them with the truth. Because there's a lot of bad things in Russia. And the more we can do to help expose it and get those people to rise up, the better it will be for the rest of the world. Putin needs to go and all of those sleazy corrupt people around him.
GLENN: Do we actually come to our senses as -- as Republicans and Democrats and actually deal with the fact that they're already here and infiltrating and working on 2018 and 2020? Do see us actually getting there or just using all of these investigations to hurt one side or the other?
BRAD: Listen, I know that there are good people on both sides of the aisle that are concerned about this -- because the shoe can be on the other foot tomorrow. It can be a Republican today, a Democrat tomorrow, that's being either helped or hurt by these efforts. This is an American issue, and that's the way we need to focus on it. You know, Trump is -- it's the one issue he will not touch. He will not condemn the Russians, to come right out and say, "If this happens again, you know, this is going to be the consequence." I don't know why he won't.
BRAD: I don't know. I think he -- I think -- listen, I think he felt a lot more comfortable in Saudi Arabia than he did at the NATO summit. I think he admires what he thinks are strong leaders. And dictators are not leaders. They are despots. They are tyrants.
And for some reason, he feels an affinity with them. He likes tough guys. I think that's a mistake. I think real American leadership would be saying, you know what, you did some pretty bad stuff. And, no, we're not going to ease sanctions on you.
I mean, it's insane that Congress has got to do what's best for the country, by blocking the loosening of sanctions, and the president is lobbying for that. That's insane. If I had written this in a book, I would have been tossed out of my editor's office.
GLENN: Brad Thor is the author of the new book, Use of Force. If you've never read a Brad Thor book, start with this one, Use of Force. It's really, really good. 11.3 million copies of his books in print today, which is a staggering number.
Brad, last scenario. The Middle East. We are now siding with the Syrian Kurds who are Marxist revolutionaries and terrorists. We are using them as proxies to fight the Russians and the Iranians and the Syrians. It's going to come and bite us in the ass. Iran is now trying to sweep into a crescent, to start their own caliphate. Turkey wants theirs. ISIS is kind of on the run, but they're more of a global operation now. And we seem to have our head in the sand, still, although we are getting better. How does this one end?
BRAD: Well, I think that the current administration has opened up good channels of communication with the Saudis. The Saudis hate the Iranians. And I think we need to continue to -- listen, this doesn't end well. This is a long, protracted lukewarm war, if you will, where we're not necessarily firing the shots, but we're actively supporting people that are.
So we're going to see a lot more of this proxy stuff. This does not end well. But the one thing, again, that I think the Trump administration can do is every time there's an act of Islamic terrorism somewhere in the West, I think we ought to ring another concession out of the Muslim world. So another drop of Western blood is spilled, we are merciless in having Trump hammer them publicly for this backwards ideology. And not only to condemn radical Islamism, but to say, okay. By the way, when are you guys going to start allowing women to vote in Saudi Arabia? And just to hammer that, to just bring unrelenting pressure for reform in the Muslim world. Because until that point, we're going to be playing Whack-A-Mole with terrorists. And we really need -- Judaism has been reformed. Christianity has undergone a reformation. Islam has not. And it's long past due.
GLENN: Brad, the Supreme Court ruled that the president can say for the safety of Americans, we're not going to take these refugees until we've worked this out. Is there an honest effort to try to figure out a way to bring people into the country and -- and have an idea of whether they're good or bad? You know, we've worked it out with Mercury One and the Nazarene Fund. But it would be politically incorrect to do that, as a nation. How do you do it? Is there a way to do it?
BRAD: Well, there's a couple of different ways. And one of the things is -- bad communication on part of the Trump administration. These six countries were identified by the Obama administration because they couldn't even tell you people getting on planes had parking tickets or overdue library books. And we need to screen -- I mean, you get on a plane in London, anywhere else in the world, your name is sent to the United States. They know before that plane takes off who is getting on the plane. And that's important. So that's not an anti-Muslim thing. You need that from any country in the world, to know who's getting on these planes. That's number one.
Number two, the refugees come through UN intake centers. They are like -- they're like Brad prison yards. Okay? If you ID as a Christian when you check into these places, you're going to get killed. Bad things are going to happen in these refugee camps, which is why Christians don't self-identify there. And I want everybody who is a good, honest person, be it a Muslim, Christian, whatever, to have an opportunity to get to the US. I want you to be a productive citizen.
But we need this idea -- again, Bill O'Reilly, another great idea when he talked about setting up safe zones within Syria, within the Muslim world, so that we don't have to take people here, so that they can remain culturally where they are most comfortable. Because they're running away from something. They're not running to the United States. They're running away from their own problems. And I think we need to keep them in that region where they're culturally adept. They understand the culture.
If you want to come to America, that's a separate story. But if you're coming to America just because we've thrown open the doors and you're getting away from something, that's not exactly a tier one refugee that we -- that we want, if that makes sense.
I'm not saying we shouldn't take people in times of war and in strife and things like that. But I want to make sure that we're making plenty of room for people who are, you know, standing in line and have devoted themselves fully to being here. But I look at the faces of those children, and you want to help those people as much as you can. I want anybody who wants to be a good American, I want them here and I want to help them. But we need to vet people. We need to vet them.
So I actually think Stu, Pat, Jeffy -- I think all those guys, I think we ought to put them on the front lines. Just sit down, have a Coke with these guys. Kind of like five bullet points.
GLENN: And bring your vest. Bring your vest. It's a three-piece suit list --
BRAD: I trust them. You know, Glenn, you've been carrying these guys for years. I think the show would be fine without them. Let them go do some good for the country --
GLENN: Right. Right.
BRAD: The guy that claims he got you out of the mullet haircut, you know, I think there's some guys that could do some good work over there, starting with your show.
GLENN: Got me into the mullet haircut.
Brad, thank you so much. God bless you. The name of the book is Use of Force. Pick it up. Available today. Bookstores everywhere. Use of Force. Another thriller from America's favorite writer, Brad Thor.