Real Fiction: Exclusive Chat With Vince Flynn

Chris Field
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Posted: Apr 30, 2010 3:19 PM
Some of the best American writers are providing a unique look into national security and what it takes to keep the United States safe.

They're so good at it that they've caught the government's attention.

Townhall subscribers are getting the skinny on what it takes America's best-selling authors to create fiction that is scary in its reality in the May issue. (Subscribe today to make sure you get the extremely popular issue featuring an exclusive profile of and interview with Michelle Malkin and this exclusive feature on the power, poignancy--and conservatism--of some or our country's best thriller writers.)

In reading political thrillers, spy novels and mysteries of international intrigue, the incisive reader can gain significant insight into the world of U.S. national security and defense.

And if he really pays attention, he can get a taste of what the experts believe is just around the corner for America and, if he chooses, can do some of his own investigative work.



In exclusive interviews with Townhall magazine, Vince Flynn, Daniel Sylva and several other authors offer their thoughts on how their writing reflects and impacts U.S. national security.

Here's a bit of what subscribers are currently reading:
By now, millions of Americans are well aware of Tom Clancy’s eerily prescient 1994 novel “Debt of Honor,” which ended with a Boeing 747 being fl own into the U.S. Capitol during a presidential address to a joint session of Congress, killing the president, most of the Cabinet, Congress and the Supreme Court. But Clancy’s not the only American author with an aptitude for using powerful fiction to forecast real threats to national security and opportunities for U.S. defense advancement.

So it should come as no surprise that the government has found that it, too, can gain insight by reading some of today’s leading fiction authors.

As a result, Homeland Security has implemented two programs to reach out to fiction authors—SIGMA for science fiction writers and the Analytic Red Cell program for political thriller novelists. Frank Cilluffo, director of George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute, told Townhall that 9/11 was due in part to “a failure of imagination. These programs were created to get people involved who think differently and creatively. Scenarios were created that did tweak people’s thoughts.”

Author Greg Bear, who participates in SIGMA, explained that his goal is to facilitate ideas. One of his recent novels, “Quantico,” describes how FBI agents battle a designer plague that targets specific groups. Through SIGMA and his books, he wants professionals to focus on unknown areas, “to understand that the bullet you don’t hear is the one that gets you.”

Brad Meltzer, author of several best sellers, was honored to be included in the Red Cell program and referred to it as “the breakfast club of national security.” He explained that this program wanted outside-the-box thinkers to come up with different scenarios on what might be the next terrorist threat. [...]

One of America’s best-known authors, Vince Flynn, constantly questions and probes basic assumptions in his novels. Flynn told Townhall, “A major theme in all my books is that the CIA is not only the first line of defense, but they should also be the first line of offense. Our government’s first priority is the national security of its citizenry, not whether or not we are liked by a group of intolerant religious zealots.”

This theme is evident throughout Flynn’s two most recent books. For example, in “Extreme Measures,” he warns against “politicians who think if we’d just be nice to these Zealots they’ll leave us alone.” And in “Pursuit of Honor,” Flynn writes, “At Langley, the only thing we’re supposed to concern ourselves with is national security. … The day the ACLU starts driving our national security is the day America is really fu**ed.”

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden echoed Flynn’s sentiments. “In a fundamental way, this is an intelligence war,” Hayden said. “When you decide to take intelligence tools off the table, given the nature of this war, it is the equivalent of disarmament in previous conflicts.”
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