Q What fresh hell awaits Rapp this time?
A A lot of people in Washington, including CIA counterterrorism agents, are killed after a bombing. Mitch is disenchanted because things seem like they're right back where we were after 9/11, and a member of his team begins to crack. Mitch is asked to capture those responsible however he needs to, without the president knowing how. The idea came from a buddy of mine who was in the Marine Corps, then had a high-level job at Langley for years. He said the toll being taken on the CIA is huge; these people have been working nonstop since 9/11, seven days a week, and now they're under fire over extreme measures -- I prefer that term to torture -- they've had to take to protect the country.
Q Who would be your ideal to portray Mitch on screen?
A Gerard Butler. He's a tough guy and he can open movies, but he's not so known that he'd be playing himself.
Q You spent some alone time with President Bush at the White House. What did you talk about?
A On two separate occasions, I got to spend an hour or so with him. We talked about the war, where things were headed. He also wanted to know where I was getting my information for my books.
Q Your first big source at the CIA, covert-operative supervisor Rob Richer, retired. Do you still have some connections there?
A Yes. I was at a dinner Karl Rove was also at, and I heard that after I left the table, he said he thought I must have been involved in something myself, based on what's in my books.
Q Explain your position on Islam.
A My main issue is with the ultra-radical strain that believes it is above all other sects and that it's OK to kill people, including other Muslims who don't follow their exact beliefs. These are the men who have spread Al-Qaida around the planet. People say terrorism is about poverty, but if it was all economics, we'd have Mexican terrorists blowing up America. Islam is a religion in dire need of reformation. There is no equality between the sexes. This is a boys' club that doesn't want to change. Britney Spears scares them more than George Bush ever did.
Q With all the time you spend thinking about terrorists, is it hard to raise your three kids to be curious, yet cautious?
A No. They don't need to know everything I know yet. Don't trust people who drive vans with no windows, that's what I tell them.
Q Do you feel safe yourself?
A The Iranian government and other elements in the Middle East have denounced me. But I'm way down the list. They're coming after guys like Glenn Beck way before me.
Q Which real-life politicians do you like?
A I'm a big believer in Gov. [Tim] Pawlenty. He's a real person. I like Amy Klobuchar because she's nice, honest and pragmatic, and doesn't have a massive ego. We don't agree across the board, but we're always better off with more good people in Washington.
Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046