Glenn Beck: The Assassin


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Author Stephen Coonts

GLENN: From Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, third most listened to show in all of America. Hello, you sick twisted freak. Welcome to the program. My name is Glenn Beck. I am just thrilled to have the author of a new book called Assassin. His name is Stephen Coonts. He is -- how many New York Times best seller books have you had?

COONTS: 15 so far.

GLENN: Yeah, 15.

COONTS: We've got hopes, our fingers crossed to do number 16.

GLENN: Well, we can hope but not for change in that particular case that this one does as well and I think it is. It is the Assassin, the reason I want to have you on, Stephen, is if I may, have you seen Batman?

COONTS: No, not yet.

GLENN: In many ways it's the same kind of idea of a vigilante.

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: Of saying, enough. Nobody's doing it. Nobody's fixing anything. Your book revolves around a guy who is wealthy, who is powerful, who lost his son in Iraq, right?

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: Lost his son in Iraq and says what?

COONTS: Well, says we're going to help the government declare war on these guys, we're going to fund a vigilante group to go take out the head of the guys that fund and give the orders.

GLENN: Right.

COONTS: The Al-Qaeda orders.

GLENN: Because the rest of the government -- because they see -- and this is such a, I think a universal feeling in most of America that our solutions are right there but we have tied our hands in so many different ways on almost every level, we can't get to any of the solutions.

COONTS: Well, we certainly love to create legalistic solutions, bureaucratic solutions that give us a long list of thou shalt nots.

GLENN: Right.

COONTS: And it sort of ties your hands when you're fighting people who don't have those lists. And further they use those rules against you.

COONTS: So your main character brings in the President and says, "Mr. President..." you know, they meet across the street at a hotel across from the White House and says, Mr. President, I just want a name, just give me a name of somebody that can put together an army and the President as he should be says, oh, that's outrageous, I don't know about that. And then before you know it, he gets a name.

COONTS: And the name is Jake Grafton who's a CIA bigwig, and Jake takes this offer as a chance to perhaps get to Abu Qasim, who is the head general and the Al-Qaeda. And so he sees it really as a way to get to a terrorist, a known terrorist that they've wanted for a long time and been unable to locate. And so in effect the billionaire and his friends become cats paws for Jay Grafton and the hero.

GLENN: And so they are real movers and shakers, they are not lunatics, they are not -- you know, they're very accomplished people, very well tied into everything. And they get together for a meeting, and I just want to quote this one part of the book because I just think this speaks to where people are now. So our choice is to actively take a stand and lead the fight or to hide in the crowd and share its fate. Civilization has treated us well. We built institutions that provide employment for tens of thousands of people, allowing them to support and educate their families. We enable other people to -- and other businesses to do the same. We have earned enormous fortunes. The real question is are we going to allow these fanatics, these xenophobes, these religious zealots, these madmen to destroy civilization and drag us back into the seventh century or are we going to fight back, are we going to take a stand.

I think that is the conversation that should be happening on almost every front more in America.

COONTS: Indeed it should.

GLENN: I think people feel this way. My question to you is do you think any of this is happening?

COONTS: Oh, I think it could be. I think that the information's certainly there and I would certainly hope that the government is doing everything it can to data mine these vast computerized records at all these businesses, these large businesses have. Whether -- of course, they won't tell you whether they are or not. And occasionally you find that people are jumping up and down in congress about invasion of privacy and you expect that's really what it's all about.

GLENN: The -- I was talking to Marcus Luttrell's mother. Marcus Luttrell is from the Lone Survivor, Seal Team 10.

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: And I was talking to his mother. We were having dinner in Texas a couple of weeks ago and she said she got a call from Ross Perot when Marcus was, you know, being held by Al-Qaeda.

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: Marcus -- she got a call from Ross Perot's people and they said, Ross wants to go get him. And the government immediately said, no, no, no, no, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. My question really, though, to you was do you think that there are people like Ross Perot, do you think that there are people and should there be, where you can -- you have the resources, you have the ability to say, you know what, I'm going to take them on myself.

COONTS: Well, Ross Perot is a real person and, of course, he did it. You know, he went after his people being held during the Iranian embassy problem back in the Jimmy Carter administration, and he got them out. And he hired, he hired former military people that he thought had the skills to do it and they went and did it.

GLENN: Where do you stand on -- because you're a lawyer, aren't you? Don't you have your law degree?

COONTS: Yeah, I'm -- one of my former careers, I was a -- yeah, I've reformed.

GLENN: So where do you stand on -- because this is the argument in Batman.

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: Sometimes you need somebody to say you guys are so hopelessly bogged down in your own rules that you can't get anything done. And so Batman takes over. Same in your book. Is there -- should we be doing that?

COONTS: Well, I think it's a great theme in literature. It's as old as the hills. The hero who cuts through the fog and the rules and goes and does it. But, you know, one of the reasons we use rules in modern America is to prevent anything from happening. You know, we use rules to prevent the oil company from drilling offshore or the power company from building a plant right down the street. And so while we want all these things to happen, we don't want it to happen here. So we just create so many rules that we stop all progress. And that doesn't help us when we're in a war with people who are desperately trying to destroy us. And, you know, the classic cases I think that the -- of how the thing goes wrong is the Supreme Court's latest decision that P.O.W.'s have rights to lawyers and access to the courts. And at some point you think what would World War II have been like if the Japanese and German P.O.W.'s all got their lawyer.

GLENN: Can you imagine? Yeah, it's like we're putting ourself out of business.

COONTS: Exactly.

GLENN: It's almost as if we're intentionally self-destructing. I know we're not, but it sure feels like that.

COONTS: Well, I think, you know, what we got is the attention of a country that's really divided against itself. We can't really decide what we ought to be doing. And so if we get a little majority to go forward, then we get a little majority to impede the vehicle and so -- and so consequently paralysis is what often results.

GLENN: Why do you think that is? I think -- and I've said this to every author that walks into my studio that writes these kinds of books. You guys are doing what Hollywood did in the 1940s. You can watch anything, you don't -- with the exception of even 24. And even 24 was politically correct.

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: You don't have the bad guys and call them by name. You don't say that they're Muslim extremists. You don't say that. You can't say that. Nobody's saying that. Yet I can still go back and we can still make the Russians bad guys. We're still making movies on how the Nazis were bad guys.

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: So nobody's teaching that lesson now. Nobody is reinforcing the lesson all the time of these guys want to kill us. You are really the only source of entertainment and enlightenment that is doing that.

COONTS: Well, you know, I think that the -- that they really have -- they're enemies in civilization, and I'm willing to say that in public. And if I'm politically incorrect, sobeit. I think that these guys really have nothing, nothing to contribute to the civilization that the feeds, clothes and house most of the people on this planet and they want to take the world back into the seventh century, they want religious purity so they can all get into paradise when they die, which doesn't help the people that are alive today. And that's the absolute antithesis of cephalization as we know it. And so I'm perfectly willing to call them enemies of civilization in the same way that the communists and the Nazis were and I think that today's reader sees that.

GLENN: Oh, yeah. I think the average American does. I mean, you look at the -- you look at the successful books on the New York Times Best Seller fiction. They generally run into this territory. Would you agree or disagree?

COONTS: I agree.

GLENN: Yeah.

COONTS: Because it's the most fertile territory open for a novelist. This is what's happening now.

GLENN: It's what we were doing -- it's what Clancy was doing against the Soviet Union.

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: I mean, now we can't even say -- we're at war and we can't even say we actually have an enemy in most places. By the way, we're talking to Stephen Coonts. The name of the book is the Assassin. Comes out today, right?

COONTS: Today. It's in bookstores everywhere.

GLENN: I have read a lot of fiction books this summer and there's two general themes that I see. One of them -- well, beyond Islamic extremism another one is how powerful Russia is becoming and how the KGB is back full fledge. The other thing is every single one is talking about how beaten up our CIA is now and how they've kind of lost their direction and they don't really, they don't have a lot of confidence right now.

COONTS: And, you know, that is so true. The CIA has really made so many bad calls through the years and then they just got whipsawed by the nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction. They used to call those NBC weapons, but weapons of mass destruction interact. You know, the CIA told the President, told all the decision makers in Washington, you know, that Saturn really had, you know. But he didn't. He was playing a game.

GLENN: Sure.

COONTS: That he was trying to convince Iran that he had them and so we invade the country, the deception, probably the greatest deception that's occurred since World War II when we -- when the British fooled Hitler over where D-day was going to happen. So we invade and Saddam loses his life. Now the question in Iran is, does paralyze the CIA is do they really have a nuclear weapons program. And so the CIA two years ago decided there was no proof. Now they want absolute convincing evidence. There's never that in the intelligence business.

GLENN: So then how do we accomplish that? How do you -- what has to change? Because an intelligence organization can't be as -- everything I read and, you know, the fiction books, and the reason why I say the fiction books, I can go read the newspapers, I can go talk to people myself, et cetera, et cetera. But the fiction, you guys, when you're writing fiction -- tell me if I'm wrong. When you guys are writing fiction, it's got to have a real sense of truth in it or it falls apart.

COONTS: Well, you pick one of the great problems of American foreign policy is that the CIA, so many people in congress think the CIA couldn't spot a bomb on the capitol steps and so they don't believe anything the CIA tells them. And everything that comes out of that Langley facility is suspect. And the problem is that the people there, by insisting on proof, whatever that convincing proof, have made themselves irrelevant and so it's like we don't even have a --

GLENN: Right. So how do we get out of -- as now Russia is being run by the KGB or the former KGB players, as they are being run by these people who know exactly what's going on, what do we do? Is there anybody out there fighting for these?

COONTS: Well, I think we certainly need a revolution in who's leading the CIA in this country. We need a housecleaning and we need new people put in. But we also need to take a realistic look and understand what intelligence agencies are all about and the convincing evidence is never going to come out. And part of what we hope to get is best guesses, and the best guesses are sometimes going to be wrong.

GLENN: Yeah. So don't you think it's unfair, too? Because I mean, I see the CIA, they've dropped the ball several times. But on the Saddam Hussein thing, he outplayed us.

COONTS: He did.

GLENN: He died because of it.

COONTS: Yeah.

GLENN: But he outplayed us. Everybody was fooled by that. Why is the CIA -- well, you know, we -- I guess we have to just stop tearing ourselves apart.

COONTS: Right.

GLENN: When it's reasonable that some things are wrong. All right. The name of the book is The Assassin by Stephen Coonts. You are going to love this. If you still have some summer reading to do this month, get this book. You will absolutely love it. The assassin by Stephen Coonts. Thank you, sir.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.