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The bottom line is that the CIA is a cold-war era relic that needs to be figuratively burned to the ground and rebuilt. If I was the architect of that rebuilding, I’d design the CIA’s replacement in the style of its precursor, the OSS. I would keep the great, patriotic Americans of the CIA who value protecting their country above protecting their backsides and I’d dump everyone else. We need intelligence people who are focused on the next threat, not the next promotion – and we need to provide them with a culture in which they and the nation can succeed.
MT: As if Harvath isn’t defending America against enough enemies in Full Black, the Chinese also play a behind-the-scenes role, facilitating a devastating strategy of “unrestricted warfare” against the United States. Based on your experience in counterintelligence circles, is China more of a serious and imminent terrorist threat than most Americans realize?
BT: China knows it can never defeat the U.S. on the conventional battlefield. That was why, in the 1990’s, two colonels from the PLA drew up a blueprint to secretly collapse America from within. The attacks had to meet two criteria. They could not be traceable back to the Chinese, i.e. no Chinese fingerprints, and the attacks had to all seem like random occurrences that America wouldn’t be able to link in a pattern.
To that end, the plan called for many things including: encouraging the work of George Soros, co-opting al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups to attack America and American interests (it specifically mentions attacking the World Trade Center), and developing the capabilities to shut down America’s power grids (there have been reports that some inside the intelligence community believe the 2003 Northeast blackout was caused accidentally by Chinese hackers mapping our power grids and planting Trojan viruses in preparation for just such an attack).
I saved the best parts of the plan for Full Black, but as I was writing it, I was stunned by how so much of the plan seemed to be unfolding right now in real life. In fact, national security columnist Bill Gertz came out with an article while I was polishing the draft saying that there were elements affiliated with the Pentagon that believed the 2008 financial crash may have also been part of this same master plan to covertly collapse the United States from within.
MT: Recently Warner Bros. Studios picked up the rights to your novels to develop what will hopefully be a movie franchise as successful as the Jason Bourne series. Tell us about your experiences trying to find a home for Harvath and your books in Hollywood. Did you meet with any resistance to having such an openly conservative character in left-leaning Hollywood?
BT: I have long held that al Qaeda didn’t pick the World Trade Center because it was filled with Republicans, but because it was filled with Americans. And when they attempt to carry out their next attack on the NYC subway system, they’re not going to post operatives at turnstiles asking to see voter registration cards and suggesting Democrats and Independents ride the bus that day.
National security should be an American issue, not a partisan issue. Al Qaeda is united in its mission to kill Americans and we should all be just as united, if not more so, in our mission to kill all of them first.
As far as Hollywood is concerned, there is a reason anti-American films like Stop-Loss, Redacted, Lions for Lambs, etc. have bombed at the box office. Americans want to see their values triumph. We want good to succeed over evil.
And speaking of good, there are lots of good people in Hollywood. They don’t all look down their noses at “fly-over” country. They know there’s much more to America than just her coasts and they also know that the area between the coasts is where a majority of their ticket sales come from.
I have been nothing but impressed with all of the people I have been working with at Warner Bros. We’re not making “conservative” movies or movies with a “conservative” hero. We’re making an action franchise with a tough-as-nails American protagonist who everyone will stand up and cheer for – Republican, Democrat, and Independent alike. In fact, these movies are going to be so spectacular, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that al Qaeda’s dirtiest little secret is how much they love Scot Harvath and seeing the Brad Thor books up on the big screen.
If people come to a deeper understanding of the threats our country faces by watching these movies, that’s terrific. But at the end of the day, I – like Warner Bros – am in the entertainment business. I want our moviegoers to walk out of the theater raving about what they have just seen. If we do that, then we have done our job as entertainers.
Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.
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