You can find Brad Thor’s books in the fiction section, but there is more truth implanted between the pages than you could ever imagine — or would want to.
The New York Times best-selling author’s unique style of fusing fact and fiction into one compelling and cohesive work of art has led Glenn Beck to deem his literary genre as “faction.” If you are just looking for an edge-of-your-seat, white-knuckle thrill ride, any of Thor’s thrillers will do the trick. But don’t be surprised if you learn a little something along the way.
“I want to be the king of faction,” Thor told TheBlaze in an exclusive interview. “My number one goal as a thriller writer is to entertain you. But I’ve got a chance to not only entertain people, but have them close my book and be smarter having read it.”
His new book “Black List,” which comes out Tuesday, does exactly that while tackling the concept of “total surveillance.” And in a day and age where there are cameras on nearly every street corner and the federal government can access by various means your phone calls, text messages, emails and other personal information, the book couldn’t come at a better time.
“If I had to sum up the concept of ‘Black List’ in one sentence it would be: Someone is padding the president’s kill list,” Thor said. “The subtext though is all about this surveillance technology.”
All of the surveillance technology found in “Black List” is based upon systems currently deployed, or in the final stages of development by the U.S. government and its partners. Make no mistake, the implications are absolutely terrifying.
“If I had been around with George Orwell back when he wrote ‘1984’ and I knew what I know now, he would have told me I was crazy,” Thor said, chuckling to himself before getting serious again. “Orwell couldn’t have predicted this.”
Flashback to 1975, he explained, when Sen. Frank Church appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and issued a dire warning about America’s invasive surveillance capabilities:
“[America’s intelligence gathering] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left. Such the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”
That was based on the technology of the 1970s. We are now in the high-tech digital world of 2012 and as a result of the attacks on 9/11, the full might of the U.S. government’s surveillance capabilities has been unleashed on its citizens under the guise of “national security,” according to Thor.
“Let me make this very clear: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our digital exhaust is being sucked up by the government,” he added. “It is being compiled on big server farms and it’s being analyzed by different computer programs, looking for any hint that you and I are up to no good.”
In fact, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been compiling so much information on U.S. citizens that it actually outgrew its facility in Fort Meade, Md. and had to build a new facility outside of Salt Lake City to the tune of $2 billion, Thor explained.
But that’s just the beginning.
Though there are too many to cover in this one story, Thor told The Blaze which of the surveillance technologies being used or developed by the U.S. government concern him the most — all of which are integrated into his latest book.
He said intelligence agencies have made use of a particular software system that allows them to access various databases and compile as much data on individuals as possible. This may include information from an array of different sources such as credit agencies, websites and social media networks. Social media, he explained, has helped these agencies tremendously as it aides them in creating a relationship tree for any person of interest, a previously difficult and time consuming task.
Case in point: Just last week a story surfaced noting that the plan to archive every single tweet is “definitely still happening.”
Even more alarming, Thor explained: The government is using this data to develop “artificial intelligence applications” that can not only process large amounts of data quickly but are being programmed to anticipate what you are going to do next.
“Under the guise of security the government has been robbing our liberty,” said Thor. “And I’m not down with that.”
And what if we were once at a point in our society that you could be arrested before committing a crime? It may sound like science-fiction, but the technology has already moved on to phase two.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) program, which recently passed its first round of testing, uses a computer program that studies physiological indicators of a person, such as heart rate and the steadiness of a person’s stare, and then utilizes that data to determine whether that individual may have “malintent,” the intent to cause harm.
“That’s ‘Minority Report,’ that’s thought crime,” the author said, who added he actually used information from a previous report by TheBlaze on the FAST program in his new book.
Finally, Thor said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently came out with a statement that said it had been directed by the Obama administration to open up the skies for unmanned drones. The FAA said based on what they are being asked to do, they anticipate the U.S. will have upwards of 30,000 drones patrolling the skies.
He used a metaphor written by NRO’s Charles C.W. Cook to make his point: “As a farmer would be a fool to presume that the good year’s harvest augurs perpetual success, so a citizenry would be unwise to place the tools of abuse in the hands of the state simply because it is currently benign. This, if anything, is the Constitution’s role, and it applies as keenly to the ‘just’ leader as to the baleful.”
In other words, giving the government authority to implement “total surveillance” and expecting no one to ever abuse that power is foolish.
Surprisingly, Thor said he gets a lot of his intel and ideas for his books from “mainstream” U.S. government officials who are in positions of power but who can’t sound the alarm without being called a “conspiracy theorist” or marginalized. So they go to him.
He refused to out any of his confidential sources but said it “would make Americans’ hair curl” if they knew where some of the information found in “Black List” actually came from.
On the 2012 Election
We couldn’t let the conservative author get away without weighing in on the upcoming presidential elections. He said while presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney wasn’t his first choice, the former Massachusetts governor has his full support.
“We have to defeat Barack Obama — this is the most important election of our lifetime,” Thor said. “The future of our republic is at stake. We have been, as citizens, incredibly derelict in our duties as stewards of this country.”
He said babysitters face more personal scrutiny than President Obama did in 2008.
“We talk about Bill Ayers, we talk about Reverend Jeremiah Wright, we talk about Frank Marshall Davis, we talk about all these people Obama has surrounded himself with and the mainstream media ignores it completely,” he said.
“Show me one single patriot who has ever been in Barack Obama’s life in any position of influence. You can’t do it… Barack Obama detests this nation as founded. He has zero respect for the founding documents.”
The author said for those who voted for Obama in 2008 because they were expecting “hope and change,” 2012 is their chance for redemption.
“You know what, you people who voted for Barack Obama, you made a big mistake. You finally have a chance to make it right and you need to. You need to. You owe it to the future generations of this country,” said Thor.
Pre-order your copy of “Black List” today or order a copy when it comes out at midnight, here.
But the fight to take back the country from big government progressives and elitists bureaucrats doesn’t end with a Romney victory — it is only the beginning. But it can be done, he said. “We can still turn this around.”