How long were you in the FBI?
I spent twenty-six years in the FBI, all of them as a street agent and many of those years undercover. Both as a case agent and as an undercover agent I worked organized crime, terrorism, gangs, and child exploitation.
When did you decide to get into law enforcement?
Even as a child I played cops and robbers in the backyard with the neighborhood kids so I think there was always a desire to get into law enforcement at some level. Prior to joining the FBI, I was a judge advocate in the Marine Corps. Regardless of how they portray it on TV, after spending four years in a military courtroom, I realized most trials aren’t “whodunits.” The issue almost always came down to whether the interrogation was coerced or the search was legal. For me, the excitement of the courtroom waned quickly and I certainly wasn’t interested in sitting behind a desk all day drafting legal documents. I really wanted a job offering excitement and a chance to serve. Even though I was a Captain in the Marines I was still just an attorney, but the Marines instilled a warrior ethos. I wanted to be part of that small cadre of men and women who protected the sheep from the wolves. I knew the FBI sought lawyers and accountants, so I applied and was accepted.
Did you ever get used to working undercover?
Absolutely. Many times I was more comfortable in my undercover role than I was as an agent. I looked forward to the face-to-face undercover meeting. I loved that thrill.
Do you bring those experiences to your novel?
I hope the reader will capture that same excitement and thrill I felt with each undercover assignment. There is a lot of me in Matt Hogan. He’s just younger and a lot better looking.
How true is ENEMIES AMONG US?
Obviously I was an FBI undercover agent and I worked terrorism. There are elements of many of my undercover cases in the composite story. I worked on the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Los Angeles and with many people from the Middle East. I had some top informants from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. We spent a great deal of time together and they were excellent teachers. I appreciated the education I received from them.
How did you prevent the undercover work from interfering with your life at home?
I tried to always put the family first. I tried never to miss a ball game or performance and tried to work undercover deals around the family schedule. Of course it didn’t always work. The hours while working undercover can be unpredictable and erratic and my family understood that. Those nights when I did come home I liked to think I was able to ring out of my sponge-like brain of all I encountered that day. It wasn’t easy because working undercover is a 24/7 mindset but I tried hard not to bring the cases into the house.
What makes your novel different from others on the market?
FIDELIS is a unique imprint. Each of the authors “has been there.” The authors Ollie North has enlisted for this imprint include decorated combat veterans, world champion martial artists, undercover agents. Each brings a unique perspective to his writing. It’s not just research and a tagalong experience with real cops or real members of the military. Each of us has been there. Each has had a very exciting life, each has experienced the action, and each brings that excitement to the written page.
In the novel you discuss the use of charities to raise money for terrorism, is that true?
Charities have long been a vehicle by which various terrorist organizations have raised funds. Probably the most famous is the Holy Land Foundation. The foundation described itself as the largest Islamic charity in the United States. It was charged with funneling more than $12 million to Hamas. Its founders were convicted and given lengthy sentences. Since September 2001, the Treasury Department has designated more than 40 charities as being fronts for terrorism. At least three, Benevolence International Foundation, Global Relief Fund, and the Holy Land Foundation -- had headquarters in the United States. Two, Al Haramain Foundation and Islamic African Relief Agency, had U.S. branch offices.
Do you see Islam as a threat?
I see radical Islam as a major threat. It is an ideology of hatred. Its followers are convinced by their leaders to kill themselves in order to kill the infidels. In previous wars we have faced adversaries willing to die in battle against our servicemen but this radical element doesn’t care if the targets are men or women, military or civilian, Christians, Jews – or even fellow Muslims. If in the eyes of the leaders, the targets are “infidels” then they are worthy targets. By their own writings the immediate goal is to establish an Islamic Caliphate in which there is no room for competing beliefs. There doesn’t appear to be any negotiation. To achieve the goal they have launched a jihad against anyone they perceive to be an opponent.
What role does religion play in your life?
We attend church every week but I would say my faith rather than my religion sustains me. Moses may have only meant this for Joshua, but often before a difficult undercover assignment I would reflect on his words in Deuteronomy, “The Lord himself will go before you and be with you: he will neither leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” For whatever reason and however undeserved God wrapped His protective arms around me.
Why did you write this book?
I guess Sylvester Stallone’s answer in the original Rocky movie might be best. I can’t sing or dance. I started writing on a regular basis almost by accident. I enjoyed it and wanted to devote more time to it after I retired from the FBI. I also love to read, especially thrillers by such authors as Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and of course, Ollie North. I wanted to bring my experiences to the page and write the type of book I wanted to read. I wanted to write a thriller about an FBI agent who struggled with some of the same issues I’ve confronted and maybe many of my readers have confronted as well. My goal is to give the reader an entertaining read and raise a few questions in the process.
Readers!! As I said, it was long, but good!!
Now, if you would like to win a copy of his book, Enemies Among Us, please comment below. Anything about the interview!! You definitely have enough to comment about:)
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