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Honest Questions with Vince Flynn
Aired December 21, 2007 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): In a post-9/11 world, no one nails the face of evil better than political thriller writer Vince Flynn.
Nine-time "New York Times" best-selling author, consultant for the hit TV show "24," Flynn`s new novel, "Protect and Defend," takes you on a nail- biting ride inside Iran`s nuclear weapons program, and fiction has never felt more real.
Unbelievably candid and outspoken about the trials we face both abroad and right here at home. Tonight, best-selling author Vince Flynn joins me for a full hour of honest questions.
BECK: Well, hello, America. I`m thrilled to be joined by -- he says nine-time "New York Times" best-selling author, but I believe one of them is still being recounted. Best-selling author and a good friend of mine. He has got a new book out, "Protect and Defend," about an undercover mission to end Iran`s secret nuclear program.
Vince Flynn, how are you, sir?
VINCE FLYNN, AUTHOR: Great, Glenn. Always good to see you.
BECK: You know, it was a little disturbing. Vince and I had dinner a couple of weeks ago, and he just, in the middle of dinner said, "Have you seen that Abba show on Broadway?"
And I said, "Aren`t you the guy who writes, like, novels about shooting people?"
FLYNN: Actually, to be fair...
FLYNN: ... I asked you because there was a group of a capella singers there that sang a bunch of `50s and `60s songs at the party...
BECK: This is getting very, very...
FLYNN: And I said to you, "Have you seen `Jersey Boys`."
BECK: Yes. No, I said no.
FLYNN: And you said no. And I said I tell you, I`m not a big musical person, but it was great. And then I digressed and talked about how I think my wife dragged me to go see -- what is it? What`s that Abba one? Wedding -- I`m serious.
BECK: I don`t know. "Mama Mia."
FLYNN: "Mama Mia."
BECK: I`m being told in my ear.
FLYNN: I told you at the end of the day...
BECK: I know.
FLYNN: ... you will be on your feet dancing and singing to all those songs you that wouldn`t admit to your friends...
BECK: Could we talk about shooting people for a second?
BECK: Get some testosterone here from you. I don`t need my fiction writers -- you know, people who worked on "24" to start telling me about Abba music.
FLYNN: Renaissance man. You`ve got to -- and the other thing is you`ve got to do things for your wife sometimes.
BECK: Well, I know. I know.
Let me start with you as a kid. Before we get into, you know, all the heavy stuff and just the cool stories that you have experienced being a fiction writer, let me start. You were a kid with dyslexia.
BECK: How tough was that?
FLYNN: It was real tough.
BECK: How -- I mean, did you have a hard time reading? How did you...
BECK: How did you want to become a writer when you couldn`t read?
FLYNN: Well, I didn`t. I did not grow up aspiring to be a writer someday.
BECK: What did you want to be?
FLYNN: I wanted to be a football player.
FLYNN: I sat through class and daydreamed about, you know, hitting that grand slam in the World Series, you know, the winning shot in the NBA, you know, championship...
BECK: You know, football players don`t do that.
FLYNN: No, but I mean all of that stuff.
FLYNN: I played football, basketball, baseball growing up, ran track. You know, I came from a real athletic family, which I talked to a lot of kids with learning disabilities, and I tell the parents you`ve got to find something for these kids to grab onto, because if I didn`t have sports as a kid, I would have probably ended up being a burnout and running into all kinds of problems.
You already feel stupid enough in school because you can`t follow. The class just blows right by you and you`re...
BECK: Were you diagnosed? Did you know?
FLYNN: Yes, I had to go to SLBP classes when I was a kid starting in second grade up through -- second, third, fourth, and fifth grade.
BECK: Were those the special class that we used to make fun of?
BECK: Before the PC world.
FLYNN: Slow Learning...
FLYNN: ... Behavior Problem. And I always said I thought it was Slow Learning Bad Pupil. And a special ed teacher showed up at one of my book signings. I was talking about it.
BECK: So at what point were you diagnosed?
FLYNN: I`ll flash forward. When I was like second, third grade they pulled me out and I started going to those classes. And it`s horrifying. At first you think you`re special, and then the other kids realize he`s the dumb one in the class. You know, he`s got -- so you get teased.
But I gave it back. You know, I`m one of seven. Irish Catholic family. So I gave it right back.
But you grow up overcompensating for it. So you don`t do well on homework assignments. You don`t do well on tests. But you become a good verbal participant in class.
And I just -- I really kind of ran from it, and I hid for years and years. And then in college I had a real embarrassing situation and I said, "Enough. I`ve got to get my hands around this." And so I forced myself to start reading every day.
BECK: What was the embarrassing -- if you don`t mind me asking. You`ve already announced the Abba thing.
FLYNN: I handed in a paper in college, and it was -- I was in a liberal arts school, the University of St. Thomas, and I was taking the class pass/fail. And the paper came back, and I wasn`t there the night that it came back. Well, a buddy of mine picked it up.
I show up at lunch that day, and there it is, sitting on the lunch table with all my buddies around.
BECK: Oh, boy.
FLYNN: Face up. And on the back of it, it says a big red "F," and underneath it, it says, "I don`t know how the hell you got into college. I don`t know how you`re going to graduate. This is the worst paper I have ever read."
BECK: Holy cow.
FLYNN: And I was mortified.
BECK: Have you sent him the -- hey, look at this, professor.
FLYNN: No. I talked to kids about this a lot and parents. Criticism is a good thing.
BECK: It is.
FLYNN: This was a wake-up call. College is about -- it`s about experiencing, learning how to stand on your own, and this guy gave me a good wake-up call.
And interestingly enough, right about the time that happened, Al McGuire, the old coach at Marquette, came and he talked. He gave a lecture at St. Thomas. Remember the color commentator for college basketball?
FLYNN: You do, too. Al McGuire, coach of the Marquette warriors.
BECK: I`m not a sports fan.
FLYNN: OK. He came to St. Thomas and gave this great speech about the fact that Al played college basketball, graduated from college, and couldn`t read. And in the national championship basketball game, he goes out onto the court, and the scorer comes up to him and hands him the scorer`s book and says, "Coach, I need your starting line-up."
McGuire looks down and realizes he can`t even write his players` names down. And he was so embarrassed he threw the scorebook back at the guy and says, "I can`t deal with this right now."
He went into the locker room, cold sweats, said, "If I win tonight, I`m going to learn how to read and write."
So he kind of motivated me. I thought, you know, "I can do this." So I started reading "Trinity." My parents had been trying to get me to read it for years. So I slugged my way through "Trinity" and fell in love with the one thing I grew up fearing. And I just -- I started reading everything I could get my hands upon.
BECK: I have to tell you, this is so -- it`s so amazing because you can have that wake-up call, and then on the other side I always thought I was stupid. I have really good grades in school, but I remember being just a bad student. I wasn`t. I just didn`t apply myself. But I had "A`s." And I always felt stupid.
I went back to college when I was 30. I had the opposite experience. I had a professor take me out to lunch and say, "You know, why are you here? What are you trying to do?"
And I said, "I`m trying to do this," and I felt really stupid. I said, you know, "I`m trying to read this and this."
And he said, "Nobody gets through that stuff on their own."
BECK: And he paused for a second, and he sat back in his chair, and he reached over and he said, "You belong here. You know that, right?"
BECK: And somebody saying to me, "You`re smart enough to sit here" changed my world. So it`s amazing. Sometimes you need a good kick in the ass.
FLYNN: Oh, absolutely.
BECK: And another time you need somebody to say, "You can make it. You can do it."
FLYNN: You can do it. And that -- you know, when I was trying to get published, that -- there was a lot of that encouragement later.
FLYNN: But it was -- what I learned was dyslexic kids are -- it`s a gift. You don`t realize it when you`re a kid, but it`s a gift. You go to any ad agency in, you know, New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Chicago, and you are going to find they are full of dyslexic people and people with learning disabilities.
You talk to parents who have kids who are ADHD. Those kids might be a handful right now...
FLYNN: ... but they`re going to grow up, and they`re going to be the top sales people. They`re going to...
BECK: David Neeleman is a good friend of mine. He -- you know, he started JetBlue. The guy`s absolutely brilliant. Thought he was a dummy. He couldn`t read. He still has to listen to books on tape. He can`t do it. He`s so riddled with A.D. and he`s brilliant.
FLYNN: They don`t -- they don`t fit in in school, because you`re not on kind of the assembly line. But it has to be that way. You have to educate towards the majority not, you know, little minorities here and there of kids. You try to help them get along the way.
But I tell parents don`t be worried about your kid with a "C" average. They think differently. And what I learned is it`s a gift. I -- every time I picked up a book, I knew exactly what was going to happen. I have this ability, and I think a lot of dyslexic kids do. They`re creative. And Glenn, I don`t know if they`re born that way...
FLYNN: ... or you are so disenfranchised with school that you just daydream. You sit there all day, and you stare out the window and you make stuff up. And you -- and you begin to create this imagination.
BECK: We`re spending an hour with Vince Flynn. And we`re going to talk about when he was consulting with "24." We`re going to talk a little bit about torture, how one of his books was held back for a while because the government said, "Wait a minute. How did you know that exactly?" And his answers on who America`s enemies really are, our biggest enemies. Right after this.
GRAPHIC: Which presidential hopeful has admitted to reading Vince Flynn`s thrillers? A, John McCain; B, Hillary Clinton; C, Mitt Romney; D, John Edwards.
GRAPHIC: Which presidential hopeful has admitted to reading Vince Flynn`s thrillers? C, Mitt Romney.
BECK: I`ve got to tell you, that makes me actually feel good. Did you know that?
FLYNN: I had heard from Mary Matalin.
FLYNN: Yes. But a lot of the folks have -- these books have permeated Washington.
BECK: You know, it`s amazing to me because this book is amazing.
America, first of all, we`re back with six-time "New York Times" best- selling author -- six? Vince Flynn. And your new book is absolutely fantastic. This is the first No. 1...
FLYNN: First No. 1 of the nine.
BECK: Yes. And it`s just tremendous. And I don`t want to spoil it. But the end is frightening, yet happy. You know, I don`t want to blow it for anybody, but it`s resolution.
BECK: And you know, when you read this stuff, you never, ever see this on TV. You certainly don`t see this in the movies.
BECK: And I, you know -- have you ever run into these politicians who say, "Oh, I love your books."
And you say, "Maybe you should read them again."
FLYNN: Oh, all the time.
FLYNN: Democrats and Republicans, Glenn.
FLYNN: I`m always slightly shocked by -- they tell me how much they like them. Now, my formula for these books tends to be that the bad guys are Islamic, radical fundamentalists, terrorists, bad guys.
BECK: You were doing this before September 11.
FLYNN: Before September 11th.
BECK: Weren`t you the first?
FLYNN: No, I mean, other people have talked about it but...
BECK: No, weren`t you the first major fiction guy who`s -- because if I understand the story right, you -- Clancy and everybody was, you know, writing about the Cold War.
BECK: And then that broke down and everybody`s kind of like, "What do we do now?" And weren`t you one of the first who just said, "This is the real problem"?
FLYNN: Yes, I know Forsyth at one point had written a book a little bit about this, you know, with some Palestinian terrorists. One of Clancy`s earlier books was -- the one that they made into a movie, but they changed the Palestinian terrorist to the Nazi, to the white supremacist.
BECK: That always happens. Aren`t you amazed that you can still -- German people, rise up, man. I`m German heritage. I`m not offended. But I think I`m going to start pretending I am. The enemies are still Nazis.
FLYNN: They`re the go-to bad guys.
BECK: Yes, they are.
FLYNN: Because the German people are still so guilt-ridden over the atrocities of the Third Reich that they just sit there and they take it. Whereas...
BECK: Well, I mean, you probably should for a while.
FLYNN: Yes, I`m not saying there`s anything wrong with it. I just -- I believe in -- I believe in the First Amendment. And I believe in...
BECK: That`s the gun thing?
FLYNN: Exactly. I -- but I also, I believe -- when I write my fiction, I try to make it reality-based. It`s not fantasy. It`s fiction. And in order to get people to buy into it, it has to be plausible.
FLYNN: And, you know, I`ve been writing about these guys before 9/11. Four books were written before 9/11 ever happened. In some of those early books I wrote stuff like it`s not a matter of if; it`s a question of when.
BECK: Right, yes.
FLYNN: And there`s an eerie line in one of the earlier books that says "and it`s not just going to be, you know, a couple dozen people. It`s going to be hundreds upon hundreds, thousands possibly."
BECK: Yes. I remember I said -- but I mean anybody who pays attention. I was on radio here in New York on a conservative station, and I talked about Osama bin Laden. And this is, I think, in 1998 or 1999. And I said there are going to be bodies in the streets and buildings down and you won`t -- and I`m screaming at conservatives. I`m a conservative.
And they`re like, "Oh, you`re just playing into the Clinton thing. He`s just trumping this up."
And I`m like, would you please listen?
BECK: And it`s weird because of politics, now the sides have switched.
FLYNN: What I don`t like about this is it shouldn`t be a political issue.
BECK: It shouldn`t.
FLYNN: The harsh truth is, and I talked to Daniel Silva and other authors.
BECK: He`s fantastic.
FLYNN: He`s fantastic. About the fact that people will ask Daniel and I, they`ll say how did you guys know? We just took them for their word. You know, when somebody stands up and says, "Death to America" and starts firing an AK-47 into the air, I tend to believe them that they are an enemy.
BECK: Yes, and they`re dumb enough to shoot bullets straight up, not thinking what`s coming back down.
Your new book is about Iran and a way to solve the Iranian thing. How much study -- did you go over to Iran at all?
FLYNN: No. You know, I`m -- for a couple of reasons. A, I have to do a lot of research. I have to write a book a year, and I have to tour and be a husband and a father. And...
BECK: Boo-hoo, I`ve got to write a book.
FLYNN: No, so -- so my schedule`s pretty tight. And the other thing is I really am not welcome in certain parts of the world.
BECK: Well, they probably think that you`re like Clancy, that you`re a government operative.
FLYNN: Yes. And so I -- I`m not going over to Saudi Arabia anytime real soon. I don`t have a lot of fans over there. The Iranian news agency condemned this book before it even came out.
BECK: You wear that as a badge of honor.
FLYNN: Badge of honor. You know.
BECK: That`s fantastic. Iran, could you please -- Iran, could you please condemn this show? I could die a happy man. It would be great.
FLYNN: It is a badge of honor.
You know, the only thing that worries me at times is my wife and kids. You know, the security things. But for myself, no, I`m not worried. I`m - - I`m such a believer that we -- this debate needs to be had, what is going on with Islamic radical fundamentalism.
BECK: But it`s not happening.
BECK: Because we can`t -- and this is why I say that the end of your book is so satisfying, because first of all, all the way through the book it actually calls evil by its name. I mean, there are weasels and they`re are like, "Hey, hey, hey, let`s not" -- you know.
But through the book you call evil by a name, and then you take care of business in the way the United States used to take care of business.
BECK: How do we solve this without naming it? Did you see what`s happening in France? We`ll get into this later. In France they`re not calling these riots -- even immigrants. They`re calling them youths, upset youths.
BECK: They`re shooting and killing a police officer, yet they`re youths. They are Muslim African immigrants.
FLYNN: Yes, we are -- I am very frightened by what`s going on. I know we`re going to talk about the Saudi Arabia deal. But with Iran. Talking about Iran specifically.
The thing that worries me right now is we are losing the propaganda war, and it`s really a bizarre situation that we`re in. We have a country with, you know, free speech. Fantastic. Free media. They have a country with a totalitarian regime that controls the media. They`re not allowed -- everything has to be vetted through the government.
So their government is able to wage a propaganda war that all of their media cooperates with. And then we amplify it over here in the United States.
FLYNN: And it`s mind-boggling to me that we -- we need to get the CIA and some other government organizations needs to really get on board with fighting this war of propaganda.
BECK: But we did that. Vince, we did that. We put somebody -- where was it? Was it in Iran or Iraq -- you know, aimed towards Iran or Iraq. I can`t remember. Where we hired people, the radio show...
FLYNN: The radio show.
BECK: The guy didn`t even speak Arabic. The guy who was running it didn`t even speak Arabic.
FLYNN: No, it`s mind-boggling the mistakes that we have made time and time again.
But in reference to Iran, we have a very serious situation. If we do nothing, they`re going to probably have nukes in ten years or less. If we do something...
BECK: Benjamin Netanyahu says right around the corner.
FLYNN: I know. I know. And my fear is I think the economy`s very fragile right now. And if we go in and hit them or Israel goes in and hits them, I think you`re looking at $150 a barrel, possibly $200, and you can kiss the economy good-bye at that point.
BECK: I think -- I think Iran has said that it would be $300 to $400 a barrel. I mean, they`re...
FLYNN: Yes, who knows. I mean...
BECK: With our economy -- and a lot of people -- you know, it`s not just the price of oil that is going up. It is -- it is because the dollar is falling, as well, and Saudi Arabia won`t adjust that, I mean, it would skyrocket because our dollar would crumble.
That is why I think that -- hang on, I`ve got to. Bob is yelling at me. We`ve got to take a break. Vince Flynn. We`ll talk about America and the enemy within in just a second. Stand by.
BECK: We`re back with one of the world`s greatest thriller writers. Vince Flynn. His new novel is "Protect and Defend." It`s in bookstores now. It`s the No. 1 "New York Times" best-seller. He has written, I believe, three "New York Times" best-sellers. And -- and it`s fantastic.
Vince, let me -- let me go back, because I was just looking at all of the things I wanted to ask you. And as you see, America, it`s just all written on this, and I haven`t gotten to a single one.
So let me go back to something that I promised I would talk about at the beginning of the show, and that is the time when the government came in and said, "Excuse me. Hold onto that book. Don`t release that book. How did you know that?"
FLYNN: Well, it was actually with "Memorial Day." And they couldn`t do that. What happened was they put the book under security review at the Department of Energy, which meant they did an internal investigation and wanted to know how I found out all the things I found out.
And it`s -- you know, I`m an American citizen, private citizen. So they really -- it`s a very dicey proposition for the government to try to come in and squash a book.
BECK: Did you get all that secret information from the "Times" or...
FLYNN: No. You know, I didn`t -- a lot of what happens in my books is I will -- my sources will tell me something up to a point, and then they`ll say, "I can`t go any further."
I say fine. And this is again where I think the dyslexia comes in. That creative mind then begins to fill in the blanks and say, "OK, well, if I have 50 pieces of this 75-piece puzzle, I think I can piece together the rest of it."
BECK: Is it true that on 9/11 when they evacuated the White House they realized, oh, we`ve got the chutes and ladders for the president and vice president, but we have no -- we have no plan to get everybody else out...
BECK: ... and they looked at one of your books and used your book as the evacuation plan?
FLYNN: I just -- I just found this out in -- I was in Washington last week, a couple weeks ago. And I -- it`s a really neat deal. I mean, you show up there, and the Secret Service agent at the check-in gate, I had a copy of the book with me.
And he said, "Oh, you`ve got the new Vince Flynn boo? I can`t wait to buy it." And he looked up and at me and he said, "Are you" -- I said yes.
So the next night I was doing a signing in the Washington, D.C., area, and a woman came up to me and said, you know, I can`t -- she said, "After 9/11 I was in a meeting at the situation room at the White House, and it was all about you and your book `Transfer of Power` and how everybody -- half the people in the room had read it and they wanted everybody else to read it, because we needed to start looking at very real scenarios about what would happen if the White House was hit."
And I don`t want to get into naming some of the names of the people I`ve talked to there, because it was in...
FLYNN: ... in confidence.
FLYNN: No, no, no.
FLYNN: But you know, they take it -- we -- we as citizens fail to understand how seriously that day changed their world.
FLYNN: And how they had to up their game across the board on everything and start working extra hours, looking at every possible way that they could make us safe and try to keep themselves safe.
And they realized we`ve got an evacuation plan for the president that needs to be updated; for the vice president, that needs to be updated. And oh, by the way, there`s another couple hundred people in this building that we`ve got to secure. So, like on 9/11, when they left the building they all stood on the South Lawn.
BECK: Which is a good plan. Just go outside. Planes are falling out of the sky. Go out on the lawn.
FLYNN: They stood kind of everywhere.
FLYNN: And then they got the call that they were actually -- that the plane might be headed for the White House. And then they were like run for your lives as far as you can go. So now they`ve -- and here`s the other thing.
BECK: Hang on. We`ve got to -- I`ve got to take a break. But again, doesn`t that make you feel good about the government, that`s their plan? Run.
More with author -- author Vince Flynn here in just a second.
BECK: Back with "New York Times" best-selling author -- big deal, who`s not? Vince Flynn, a man who has an eye for seeing the future.
Let me talk about -- you know, we`ve talked about Iran. We`ve talked about the Middle East and militant Islam. Let me ask you if you have a sense of the growing danger here in America due to weasel politicians, due to the growing discontent on the border and politicians not listening to us. Do you feel this at all or do you sense it?
FLYNN: Well, yes. My biggest fear domestically is that there are no more statesmen left on Capitol Hill.
There was a day when the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was staffed by solely senators who they knew would keep their mouth shut, who would go into their briefing room and they`d hear all of this -- I mean, top secret stuff from the director of the CIA and his people. Or her people. And they would -- I get confused because the director of the CIA`s a woman in my book.
But they would go through these briefings and no one ever leaked. But today the problem is they go do those briefings and they get leaked all the time. It is a game of political football in that town. And whatever...
BECK: How do you solve it with that?
FLYNN: I think the only thing that will solve it is another attack to wake them up again.
BECK: But you know what? Here`s what I`m afraid of. There are people in this country that are tearing us apart on the extreme left and the extreme right.
BECK: And our politicians are playing into it. And the average American is standing in the center going, hello, I`d like not to die, I like my country -- I love America.
BECK: I mean, I`m a Republican or I`m a Democrat and I love my country. And what`s going to happen is we get hit with another attack. I don`t know if we knit back together the way we did on 9/11 because the politicians will start pointing, I told you, it was their fault, they didn`t do it, they didn`t do it.
BECK: You`re right.
FLYNN: And the American people are going to say both of you guys didn`t do it. And we`re tired of listening to both of you guys. And I think we`ll knit back together against them. That`s a problem.
FLYNN: Potentially it`s a problem. We need, though -- and I`m not sure how it`s going to happen. I think, again, an attack is probably what`s going to sober some people up and make them realize how serious this is.
Torture is the classic example. This should have never been publicly debated.
We have representation in Washington, and they`re called senators and congressmen. And they should have been meeting behind closed doors with the CIA and doing what they`re supposed to do, which is oversight. And they should have said to them, OK, you`ve had Sheikh Mohammed in your possession now for three weeks and he`s not talking. All right, maybe we need to waterboard him.
And again, I always -- torture only in the rarest of situations. High- value targets.
BECK: Did you agree with the way Abu Ghraib was done?
FLYNN: No, I didn`t.
BECK: Me neither. Did you get heat for that? Because I did. You know, I`m talking on the radio to conservatives, and when that happened I said this is an abomination, this is not the way American soldiers behave, this is not what we do.
BECK: You need to torture, I mean, within reason. I`m not talking about - - you do what you have to do to get the information if it`s pressing.
FLYNN: What happened at Abu Ghraib was a failure of management. Those intel guys would leave at the end of the day, and they would tell the nightshift we want these -- we don`t want these guys to sleep, we need to talk to them in the morning, so keep them up.
They didn`t say what to do to make them not sleep. So there was poor management. It was a disaster. It was embarrassing. It probably caused more damage to us in this war than any other action that we`ve done.
BECK: By far.
So let me -- let me kind of jump off of that in a non sequitur sort of way. Caused us more damage than anything we`ve done in this war. You had -- what was that movie? "Redacted" that came out. I think it made $26,000 or some ridiculous sum.
It was -- it`s abysmal.
BECK: And it -- at the end it ends with the beheading of a U.S. soldier, and it is portrayed in such a way to where you`re supposed to feel good and, yeah, they got the soldier. It`s an American film. The guy who is raping this girl is wearing a uniform that I have heard -- I didn`t see it, but I`ve heard it says "Rush."
Is that right?
FLYNN: He`s smoking a cigar. Yes.
BECK: Smoking a cigar. It says "Rush." I mean, that`s clearly what that is.
I don`t think Hollywood is anymore making movies for us. They care about the global market, and in particular, this movie will make a fortune overseas. And it is propaganda against us.
FLYNN: Well, it`s -- I have said, I think that if this were World War II, this would be a open and shut case...
FLYNN: ... of aid and comfort to the enemy.
FLYNN: Done deal. But it`s not World War II, and we`ve lost that nerve to fight like that.
The problem with Hollywood, I don`t think it`s the international market as much as them wanting to please their cocktail circuit buddies, is them wanting to show -- outdo each other and show how much they can`t stand President Bush and they don`t buy into this war.
BECK: It`s not about President Bush. Good god...
FLYNN: I know that.
BECK: ... let`s move on.
FLYNN: I agree with that. But I`m saying for them that`s the problem.
FLYNN: Now, I do want to clarify one thing on torture, and I`m very adamant about this. If al Qaeda were to put on uniforms and sign the Geneva Convention and stop attacking men, women, and children...
FLYNN: ... I would say fine, don`t -- you can`t torture these guys, you can`t do it. But if they`re going to fight the kind of war they`re going to fight and we get our hands on a high-value target like Sheikh Mohammed, who planned 9/11, was the guy behind it, I think at that point the CIA has to do what they can do to get the guy to talk.
BECK: See, I`m really torn on this because I`ve thought about this a lot. I`ve read -- have you read the book -- what is it? "Ghost Plane"? Have you read that?
BECK: A guy who`s very, you know, not cut from my cloth. But you know, I read all sides. And I read it. It`s about the secret planes -- you know, the CIA planes that just kind of swoop in, take a guy out...
BECK: And it`s actually a Clinton program. It`s...
BECK: And so I`ve really done a lot of soul searching on torture. I don`t want to become them. However, I see your point.
If they`re not playing by the rules, we`ve got to do what we`ve got to do. I think the secret is, I`ve got to trust the people in charge.
BECK: If I trust the soul of the person who`s in the White House and in our government and I know that they are doing it with a heavy heart and they`re only doing it...
BECK: Yes, we`re not doing it because hey, maybe we can change their brown eyes blue, that kind of stuff...
FLYNN: Yes. Yes.
BECK: ... I`m OK with it I think. But I still wrestle with it.
FLYNN: And -- and I want to say this. I`m familiar with the program in very vague terms, and I can`t get into specifics about it. But this is not like Saddam and Uday and Qusay...
FLYNN: ... where they would bring a guy in and say, you sign this confession or we are going to gang-rape your 10-year-old daughter in front of you.
FLYNN: That`s not what`s going on. They`re not cutting of limbs. I mean, Saddam had his own son-in-laws tortured.
BECK: Can you explain what -- go ahead.
FLYNN: So what they do is they wear somebody down methodically.
FLYNN: And I know Amnesty International would call every single step of this torture. But some of it`s comical. They`ll play Barney at full blair, "I love you, you love me," for 48 hours straight.
BECK: Oh, that would make me talk.
FLYNN: There`s a lot of other things to do. And there is no -- there`s no bamboo under the fingernails.
FLYNN: There`s no cutting off limbs.
BECK: One of the best things I`ve heard is that we really drugged up one of the guys right after 9/11, drugged him up. He wouldn`t talk, he wouldn`t talk, wouldn`t talk, drugged him up and said we`re sending you over to I don`t remember what country it was.
BECK: Egypt. Sent him over. We didn`t send him over. He thought we did.
We changed the flags, changed rooms, brought people in that looked like Saudis. And he said, thank god I`m here, prince so and so, tell him I`m here. Right?
BECK: That`s brilliant. I mean, that`s American ingenuity.
FLYNN: They have been -- and again, a lot of this stuff I can`t get into too much. But they don`t do this lightly.
FLYNN: In fact, the people who had to participate in the waterboarding of Sheikh Mohammed had to be first waterboarded.
BECK: I wanted to ask you this first. Tell America what waterboarding really is. Because it`s thrown around. I don`t think most people even know what it is.
FLYNN: Well, waterboarding is they get strapped to the board, they get flipped over, water`s poured over their head. It comes back on to your face, and you -- it gives you the sensation that you`re drowning.
BECK: You have a towel over your face, right?
FLYNN: Yes. There`s a couple of different ways they can manipulate this.
BECK: OK. Can I just tell you something, America? I`m very -- it`s nerve-racking being his friend and being out like a Friday night.
If we`re alone in the street walking someplace and he`s like, by the way, you could disappear and no one will ever know who did it. It kind of makes me nervous. Knowing fiction writers -- you know, knowing fiction writers and thinking, OK, I don`t know if I like you because you just thought of this really horrible scenario.
I feel real sad for the men and women in the national security establishment that have to do this, but somebody has to.
BECK: Yes. It bothers me that -- I don`t know if you saw the deal with Clinton, where he said, yes, this is really bad, but maybe -- if they feel they have to do it they should do it, but if they`re wrong they`ll have to answer.
FLYNN: What he said was -- he was actually on "Meet the Press," and he was commenting because Senator Clinton had gone on a couple days before and said -- Tim Russert read her statement. And she said no, I absolutely disagree with that.
FLYNN: And he said, well, your husband is the person who advocated that. And what he was advocating was in rare situations we should sign off, give an executive order saying it`s OK to torture.
President Clinton then said, no, that opens the door too big, people will rush through, it they`ll start torturing left and right. So what we should do is see if they actually get good information out of them, we find out where the bomb is, and then we can pardon them after the fact.
And I said, "What great leadership."
FLYNN: That`s like telling -- that`s like running the Yankees or some baseball team and saying, you know what? You get on first base, you decide to steal on your own. If you make it, great, you get your bonus. If you don`t, we`re trading you.
FLYNN: I mean, you`ve got to take some leadership.
BECK: Big trouble. Yes.
FLYNN: And that`s the -- they are the unsung heroes in my books, are these men and women at the CIA and in the Special Forces who are out there, in some cases making less money than a New York City bus driver, and putting their lives on the line.
BECK: Back with Vince Flynn and what it takes to keep America safe, and a little talk about "24" right after this.
BECK: We`re back with a guy whose thrillers have actually been read by world leaders looking for a window into the mind of our enemies. His name is Vince Flynn. You also have seen his work on television, or at least some of his advice.
Because you did some work with "24" in which season?
FLYNN: Consulted for season five at the very beginning.
BECK: What does that mean consulted?
FLYNN: I went out there for the breakout and sat down with them. Great group of guys, Joel Surnow, Bob Cochran, and Howard Gordon.
And got to sit in a room with them and say, all right, who are the villains going to be this year and where`s it going to go and who`s Jack going to kill and how`s it going to start? And it was fascinating. I mean, it`s one of my favorite shows.
BECK: Which season was it? What was the story line?
FLYNN: Season five. It was where Jack had disappeared -- well, he always disappears.
BECK: He`s going against everybody at CTU.
FLYNN: No, I`ve got to be honest. My involvement was next to nil.
I came into that room and sat there with the breakout and told them what I thought and bounced a lot of ideas back and forth. But they were the ones that sat down and wrote the season and created it. And that`s the year they won all their Emmys.
FLYNN: I mean, those guys are phenomenal. They have -- I think it`s bar none the most difficult show to write for in Hollywood.
BECK: Oh, yes.
FLYNN: The time constraints they have to deal with. They have been...
BECK: It`s like movie quality. Or it has been. Last season was...
FLYNN: Oh, the directors they have on board, everybody, it`s fantastic.
But what they -- I have such admiration for them because they`re really the only people in Hollywood that have touched this subject, that have gone out there and talked about Islamic radical fundamentalism.
BECK: You know what was funny? What was the season where, you know, Kiefer had to come out and say, "We want you to know..."
FLYNN: Season five.
BECK: That was the one?
BECK: "... that all Muslims are not bad."
I mean, how -- what do you think, we`re 4? I mean, I get it, all Muslims aren`t bad. Please don`t insult me.
FLYNN: We talked about this on your radio show. And what gets me going about this is as an American with Irish ancestry who`s Catholic, I remember in the `80s when Tom Clancy came out with "Patriot Games" and then the movie and everything. And the IRA was the villains. They were the villains in that book and in the movie.
And I remember not feeling ashamed at all and thinking, you know, that`s real. The IRA were a bunch of thugs and a bunch of terrorists, and Clancy portrayed them in a real way.
So what`s the problem? I don`t remember any Irish-American -- the Hibernian Association boycotting that movie.
BECK: Right. But this is not about just political correctness. This is about real moneyed special interest groups that just choke the living bat snot out of you if you go down that road.
FLYNN: Yes. People, I think they don`t understand that CARE, Council on American Islamic Relations, is -- they`re an advocacy group. They don`t care about the truth. They care about presenting only their side of the story.
And it`s mind-boggling to me that they can sit there in the light of all of the problems that have been created by this, yes, small sect within Islam, but that they can sit there and constantly say we`re out of our minds if we want to have a terrorist in a book who wants to blow up Manhattan. I don`t understand it. It flies in the face of creativity. It flies in the face of what reality is right now.
BECK: I`m on a book tour, and...
FLYNN: Congratulations on number one, by the way.
BECK: Well, thank you. Congratulations on number one for yours.
I`m on this book tour. And three people, three different cities, came up to me and said, "Glenn, what are you doing?" And I said, "What are you talking about?" They said, "We`re from New York, we moved from New York because of you," because I`ve been saying, look, it`s coming.
FLYNN: Yes. Ground Zero.
BECK: Bad stuff is coming. We`re at Ground Zero.
I know why I`m here, because, you know, CNN ain`t going to move to Atlanta. Wow, wait a minute. Hang on a second. I should reevaluate it.
I know why I`m here. Am I -- am I or people like me that think this is real trouble central, are we crazy? Or do you think this -- what scares you? What do you say, jeez, it`s only a matter of time?
FLYNN: What scares me is the nightmare scenario, which is a nuclear warhead going off in Manhattan or Washington, D.C. And I don`t think people understand the gravity of this. I don`t think they understand that Saddam Hussein (sic) has repeatedly been on the record saying -- prior to 9/11 -- saying he wanted to get his hands on nukes, and does anybody doubt he`d like to use them if he got his hands on them?
People have not really thought this all the way through what would happen. Imagine this island, the center of American commerce, being uninhabitable for the next 70 to 100 years because it`s a radioactive...
BECK: The houses -- I thought about this just recently. The houses for 100 miles around this are worth millions of dollars. You make this island a place where you can`t live anymore, or portions of this island, the real estate market just here collapses, the banks collapse.
FLYNN: Yes. Think about everyone`s 401(k). Kiss it good-bye.
Now, I actually think that the more plausible scenario, which is slightly more comforting to us Americans, but I think it`s more likely, is that you`ll see one of these go off in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. I could see Saddam (sic) maybe blinking over going after the U.S. -- Osama. Excuse me.
FLYNN: I could see him maybe blinking. Or Zawahiri or one of his lieutenants. Thinking, you know, that they might strike back and take out Mecca and Medina and the whole thing, and we don`t need that. But I could see them taking out the Saudi royal family.
And what scares me to death right now is that we -- with the oil hitting 100 bucks right now, we are feeding them petrol dollars. Saudi Arabia has -- the unemployment rate for men the age of 18 to 32 is about 40 percent. And these young men sit around all day, they don`t have jobs because they get checks, large checks from the government, and they go hang out at coffee shops, they go to the mosque and pray five times a day. They hear these imams get up and tell them, and preach hatred, you know, how bad the Jews are, how bad America is, you know, you must martyr yourselves.
BECK: Well, you know, as crazy as it sounds, because you would think, well, what are they going to, do how are they going to frame that, how are they going to killing Muslims, your book protect kind of talks about it. They will -- and people over there will buy it that it`s not -- it`s not us, it`s them.
BECK: I mean, it`s not them, it`s us that did it, and we just got away with it.
Hang on. We have to come back.
BECK: Final thoughts with Vince Flynn.
BECK: We were just -- back with Vince Flynn. We were just talk during the break that it amazes us both that there aren`t more people here in America that are speaking out against radical Islam because of -- just because of the treatment of women.
FLYNN: Yes. Islam is in dire need of a reformation.
FLYNN: This is a religion -- and I`m going to upset a lot of people by saying this -- there`s a lot of good Muslims out there in the world, a lot of good Muslims in America, but this is a religion that especially over there is living 200, 400 years in the past, and they need to be pulled into the future.
BECK: Yes. Well, I don`t even think it`s a religion really over there. I think it`s a political system. It is more about politics than it is about anything.
FLYNN: Well, there is no separation of church and state.
FLYNN: I mean, so it is everything. You`re right about that.
But the thing that I`m always so surprised about is Hollywood, the media elite in New York City, have a great record of going after things that are ugly and heinous such as racism and sexism. They`ve attacked the Catholic Church when they were wrong. They went after the KKK the way they should have. And they have really done a noble job with that.
They have done -- they have not discussed any of this with Islam. They haven`t discussed -- I mean, how much play are you getting? I know you talk about it, about this poor woman over in Saudi Arabia who was seen in public with a man who wasn`t a relative of hers. She`s going to get 60 lashes for it.
BECK: Oh, I`ve got another one for you.
FLYNN: So she goes to appeal it, and you know what the appeals judge says?
FLYNN: He`s so offended that she appealed it, he ups it to 200 lashes.
BECK: Yes. And six months in jail.
FLYNN: It`s mind-boggling.
BECK: It`s incredible.
Well, they just came out with a statement last week and said, you know, the media over in America is spinning this out of control, they don`t know what they`re really talking about and they`re going to look back into it.
Real quick, conservative, Republican, or Libertarian? You.
LONG: Registered Republican in the state of Minnesota. But I`m more Libertarian.
BECK: OK. Do you see a candidate -- you don`t have to tell me who if you don`t want to. Do you see a candidate you think, oh, I hope this guy gets it because he`ll really help solve our problems?
FLYNN: Well, I think there`s actually a lot of good candidates on both sides right now. My feeling is because I -- the way I focus so much on terrorism is Rudy. I mean, the guy was here on 9/11 when it all went down, and I think he will have an extra fire in his belly for going after the people who did it and making sure it doesn`t happen again.
BECK: Do you feel like there`s -- like if you could just take a slice of this guy and a slice of this guy...
FLYNN: Oh, absolutely.
BECK: I mean, because I honestly don`t think we`ve ever had this many choices.
FLYNN: I will caution, we are in primary politics right now.
FLYNN: So we`re getting the craziest of both ends.
FLYNN: Things will settle down when we get -- next March.
BECK: And what`s weird is we`re getting the craziest of both ends in one person, Hillary Clinton, and you just don`t know it.
Hey, thank you very much.
FLYNN: Thanks, Glenn.
BECK: Two-time "New York Times" best-seller Vince Flynn.
Thank you very much.
From America and New York, goodnight.