"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2022

Declining an Interview Request from NPR/KUOW's Noor Wazwaz


Earlier this year I got an interview request from Lt Col (ret) Wayne Phelps for the Fiasco podcast.  I politely declined.

I today got a similar interview request from Noor Wazwaz.  Her email read:

Hi Rick,

I hope this finds you well. My name is Noor Wazwaz, and I'm a journalist working on a podcast called Fiasco. It's a documentary-style series that looks at pivotal moments in American history and politics. Previous seasons have covered the 2000 US election, the Iran-Contra affair, and the AIDS crisis. Our season about the 2012 Benghazi attack was recently named one of the 50 Best Podcasts of 2021 by The Atlantic.

For an upcoming season, we are exploring different aspects of the war on terror through the story of Anwar al-Awlaki. We’ve been speaking with retired military officers about drones and their experiences in the military. As we’ve been researching, we came across this video of you talking to law students about an incident in which you were ordered to kill an American citizen and refused. It sounds like it was a difficult decision, and we’re wondering if you would be open to speaking to us about it, and why you decided to not follow that order. 

I’d be happy to tell you more about our project by phone, if you are open to it, and answer any questions you might have. 

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you.




I responded:

Ms. Wazwaz,

Good luck with your project.  Unfortunately my experience with KUOW and Bill Radke in particular does not persuade me to discuss anything with KUOW journalists.  Mr Radke mischaracterized, mocked, and disparaged my successful litigation effort (backed by the ACLU no less, who filed an amicus brief in support) to get an anti-First Amendment law struck down in Washington State.  If you are interested in that experience this video might illuminate the bad taste I have in my mouth for the KUOW organization: https://youtu.be/3tXGg9Y4LhQ

Unfortunately I cannot discuss such a sensitive and important topic with an organization that employs subpar journalists like Bill Radke.  But I wish you luck with your podcast and hope you give the topic the effort and integrity it deserves.



Ms. Noor clarified:

Hi Rick,

Thank you for your response. I’m sorry to hear about your experience with KUOW. However, I believe there might be a misunderstanding! I do not work for KUOW. In fact, I never have. But I can understand your confusion. When I searched for my name on their site, an article I wrote from 2018 popped up. It appears that they picked it up after it was originally published by NPR. I hope that clarifies things! 

The company that produces the podcast Fiasco is called Prologue Projects. I’ve included the link so you can read about our staff and our work.

You can hear the first season of our show, on the 2000 election and the Bush v. Gore decision, at this link. I’m confident that, in listening to our work, you’ll hear that our aim is not to do “gotcha” journalism, but to allow our subjects to say what they really want to say. 

Finally, I’ll mention that our team goes through a very rigorous fact-checking process – not only to make sure that we got our facts right, but to ensure that we are telling a fair and nuanced story. 


I’m happy to answer any other questions.


Also, if interested, I’d also be happy to connect you with our host, Leon Neyfakh. 


Thanks again,



 And I responded:


Thank you for the clarification.  Good luck with your project. 

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