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NBC News’ The Wanted – An Interview with Roger D. Carstens

7/13/2009 • Military History

Roger Carstens (left), former Green Beret; Adam Ciralsky, journalist; Scott Tyler, former Navy SEAL.
Roger Carstens (left), former Green Beret; Adam Ciralsky, journalist; Scott Tyler, former Navy SEAL.
HN: Do you have a security team with you?

RDC: No, but we could have definitely used one in one country that I won’t name. It’s basically a Green Beret, a Navy SEAL and a trained journalist—and he may be the toughest of us all; he’s got several black belts—going into these countries. There’s very little showboating. It’s all very professional in how we approach the problem.

HN: When the show was first announced, some people in our government worried that it might interfere with ongoing investigations, and human rights advocates feared some people may be falsely accused. What’s your response to these concerns?

RDC: As to the first one, let me tell you candidly the government was doing nothing. A lot of officials are going to have to eat their words. If there’s an investigation going on, it’s because we started this.

When we started doing this show, they were doing nothing about these people, but then when they found our what our show was doing, they figured they’d better start doing something. Then they came to us and said there was an ongoing investigation. We said, “No there isn’t.” And they finally had to admit they weren’t doing s—.

As for the human rights, a specific person and a specific organization took shots at us. We’re not saying on the show that anyone’s guilty; we’re very careful about that. We’re taking a look at people who are accused of committing a crime. We do tons of research, we accumulate evidence that shows this guy may be guilty, but we say “This guy stands accused.” We may say to them, “If you’re innocent of these charges, you need to stand trial and clear your name.” If I were accused of something I didn’t do, I’d want to go to trial to prove I didn’t do it.

I find it amazing that a human rights organization would be concerned that someone is trying to shine a light on people who are accused of genocide. I’d think most human rights organizations would be coming to us and saying, “We want to partner with you on this.”

HN: Tell us a little about the Center for New American Security. What are its goals and what does it do?

RDC: I don’t work there anymore, but I’m still a nonresident fellow for CNAS. It’s a nonpartisan think tank that is dedicated to fostering a pragmatic approach to national defense policy.

HN: Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you and to let our readers know about the program. Is there anything you’d like to add?

RDC: I’m excited to be a part of this program. It’s not something that I did and now it’s done and I want to walk away. I’m humbled I was asked to participate in this—at the age of 44, to be part of something where I actually get to confront terrorists and say they need to come to justice. That’s amazing.

HN: Will there be any episodes in the future?

RDC: There are additional episodes that have been shot and are currently in post-production, so if ratings are high, I think it is likely, but we’ll have to see.

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