John Finer, John Kerry, Ben Rhodes discussed on Pod Save the World

Pod Save the World


I will not give all the details away to listener. But things you wouldn't expect like the word avocado or kickstarter really central in your in your tormentors. Twisted twisted mindset in ways. that are just. I don't know it would drive me insane. You're stronger than i am. Because i would live in those dark rabbit holes. Look i think you know. The pool is very strong to go to those places but when you realize that That's not getting anywhere that you're better off trying to maintain a sense of equilibrium. One way to do that is if you can laugh at ship. Yeah yeah And so while you're in in present there's this government effort to try to negotiate your release At the same time there are ongoing negotiations over. You know what will eventually become the jcp away or the iran nuclear agreement. What's amazing in this podcast. Is you interviewed all these people about the process of negotiating release negotiating the jcp away and talk to them. During the trump administration when they were out of government when they were willing to let their hair down in speak freely and not be like the talking point robots that we all turned into when we go back in and now a bunch of them. John kerry john finer. The deputy national security adviser are back in government. Like what are what are people going to hear from those individuals that might surprise them. Look i mean. I think it we. We always think of people in government has superhuman or sub-human but definitely not you but I think when when when you hear these people you're gonna realize that they are in so many ways dealing with issues in the same ways that anybody else They're just people tasked with a job. A huge job And i think that that the the sort of impossible challenge of weighing Massive geopolitical issues against the concerns of a single family is something the government has to deal with all the time They're not necessarily always really graceful about it publicly or privately. But i think we really see into that here and for me. I've had the opportunity over the last five years to get to know a lot of of these people And also people in the trump administration specifically around the the issue of of hostage taking hostage recovery stis level of trust intimacy that i've been able to to to build up what these folks But as you say you know they can't really let their hair down right now. They have a lot of other things to deal with. I'm of the eight or nine high level officials That we we interviewed for the show Ben would probably be only one. That would be willing to talk to me right now. Right for this. And i know that because i continue to report on hostage cases And i can't get any of these folks on record at this point so you know that's no knock on them that's kind of the the the the nature Of how things work here in washington. But i would say there's a level of intimacy to this show that you almost never get when you put somebody in government alongside with somebody who who who was affected by the policies that they're tasked with implementing. Yeah i mean sometimes you get town halls with presidential candidates where they're talking directly to someone who's been impacted by war or taxes or you know healthcare policy. Whatever it's so rare to hear you. Who was taken by the iranians talking to ben rhodes or john kerry or brett mcgurk about the decisions. They literally made involving you your released from prison i mean. I don't know that i've ever heard that anywhere else. I don't think i have a. I'm sure that there are fictionalized tales. like you know on film or in in in literature but to me that's the thing that jumps out to my year Because look i was incredibly lucky. Not everybody has the kind of advocates. That that i did and that starts with a family in your employer and you know between my my big brother and the washington post They were able to get themselves into the west wing multiple times and you know As much as they became a thorn in the side of some of these people is also kind of a respect level. that was That was built up over time. And i think that that really comes through in the show. It's five years. After the fact that. I'm talking to these people and you know folks like wendy sherman and ben And john finer have very distinct memories of dealing with my brother. That's pretty cool. As far as i'm concerned all government dorks in the show. Your wife yet. Years is interviewed a lot in his hilarious. Your mom your brother. also anthony. Bourdain has a big Can you tell people how anthony bourdain became part of the story because you know for me listening trailer and hearing his voice again. Someone who. I followed and listened to and revered in some ways it was it was jarring and also so wonderful to like here. The guy's voice again so when when when we were arrested in two thousand fourteen six weeks earlier we had been asked to appear on parts unknown when he was in tehran. We spend an afternoon with them and it was. It was really lovely experience all the way around and then when we were were arrested. Invariably someone's gonna start thinking Must add something to do with you. Know with being on that show right. There's a lot of people thought it had something to do with them. It didn't have a with any anybody. But but we're dane with somebody who really from the gecko was full-throated in his advocacy for for our release. And that never stopped. It kept going in a couple of weeks after we got out. We had the opportunity to to meet up with him in new york. We had a a meal and some beers and had talked a lot in dangerous yongin. I incredible life advice and from that moment until Until he died he he was somebody who was very much in our corner. Very supportive of us in ultimately when i proposed a memoir Wrote up the proposal. We took it to publishers We you know we had sort of one of these. Many bidding wars where half a dozen different publishers wanted to publish the book he reached out to me and said hey jason you know whether you choose me or not. Just give it some consideration at like two to publish your book on com on my imprint. It's such an important story to me. And i want you to tell it how you wanna tell it by the way you know. He ended up a bumping up. See the the fee that he was willing to pay the book advance above and beyond any other publisher just to see her deal. So just like you know when when we made the decision yagi really new kind of looked me in the is like. Were you ever even considering doing this with anybody else. In the answer was no right. I mean this guy a believed in us and we believe in him. So that's how that happened and as part of Reporting out my story for the book. I spend an afternoon with His condo in in manhattan We had some beers in turn on the microphone. And and just kind of record a conversation than i think you know magically it relieved fits into the story that we're telling here yeah i mean it's weird to miss someone i've never met but i do You know you mentioned in the course of your work in the washington. Post you report on a lot of these. These hostage takings. Unfortunately hostage-taking is far too common in foreign policy and foreign affairs terrorist. Groups take hostages. Iran is taken countless hostages. We think some listeners of the show might say to me. Hey tommy You could argue that. Some gitmo detainees. Were were our hostages and they would have some point There's also troubling rise in journalists being held hostage one example is a man named any fencer. Who's in american journalist. Who's currently being held in. Myanmar has been imprisoned wrongly. Since may what do you think the best way me based on all your reporting for the us government to deal with these cases. What did the obama administration get wrong in your case that the biden folks hopefully can fix and get right so i think the first thing that administrations often get wrong is not calling it but it is when we call something arbitrary detention or a wrongful detention. I understand the the motivation for doing that. It is essentially to say that. We acknowledged hovering of this other country in the independence of their judiciary.

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