By John Crump
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- What would you do if you had to go on the run while being hunted by a team of professionals who are among the best from the CIA, FBI, and Special Forces?
Could you disappear? Would you be caught, or would you stay hidden and collect $250,000? This is the premise of the new CBS Show “Hunted”
I had a chance to sit down with Muhammad “Shadow” Bilal of the new show. Shadow has had a long career in the army, worked as a military contractor in Iraq, been a private investigator, and been a celebrity bodyguard. Now he is a hunter of men on the CBS show “Hunted”.
John: What is your personal background?
Shadow: Born and raised in the South Bronx of New York City, I enlisted in the military with my parents’ permission at the age of 17. Served over 20 years on active duty with various units most notably the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy, the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg and completed training as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B) when I graduated SFQC & language school back in the early 1990’s. After retirement from the US Army I was an instructor (observer controller) for SFQC phase II Small Unit Tactics before I started working for a Private Military Company(PMC) providing safety, security & protection for US Diplomats for the US Department of State in Iraq for 7 years (2007-2013). Then started a Executive Protection & Private Security Company called Shadow Protective Services,LLC (SPS500) as a Private Investigator based out of the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg, North Carolina area. We at SPS500 just opened another office specializing in Executive Protection in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Most recently I sent 4 of my Armed Security Officers to perform safety, security & protection related services for a corporate client in support of both the recent Republican National Convention (RNC/2016) in Cleveland, Ohio and the Democratic National Convention (DNC/2016) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Currently I still work as a celebrity bodyguard and teach the introduction to the executive protection seminar to individuals interested in this career field.
John: How did you get the name Shadow?
Shadow: In 2007, after I retired from the US military, I was a Personal Security Specialist (PSS) on the DoS WPPS/WPS program in Iraq. Most of the personnel who operated outside the wire in the “red zone” at the time were given a call-sign (nickname) by the Project Manager (PM), or by the other team members usually based upon a derogatory term and/or a mistake you made. Like Stinky or Sleepy or Woody or Chowhall (because he was always eating). When the PM issued me a call-sign, I’m already like 6’3”, so wearing full kit of boots, body armor & helmet I blocked out the sun standing before him, by casting a shadow on him. Hence the call sign – Shadow.
John: What is this new TV Show, Hunted about?
Shadow: Hunted follows 9 teams of two in a real-life man hunt as they attempt the nearly impossible task of disappearing in today’s vast digital world as highly skilled investigators combine state-of-the-art tracking methods with traditional tactics to pursue and catch them. From searching their targets’ homes and scouring their internet and cell phone histories, to identifying behavioral patterns, Hunters in the field and Command Center investigators work together to identify clues to potential hiding places and collaborators that can ultimately lead to capture. Will the anxiety of being fugitives on the run cause teams to make a critical error, or will they be able to stay off the grid long enough to avoid being found within 100,000 square miles of the southeastern United States?
A grand prize of $250,000 will be awarded – to each team – that successfully evades being caught for up to 28 days.
John: Did you ever see the UK version of Hunted?
Shadow: I had never seen the UK version before I was contacted about the show, however after I was contacted I watched every episode that was available on-line.
John: What is your role in Hunted?
Shadow: On the show Hunted I am partnered with Cortice Miles and we both make up the ground Hunter Team Foxtrot. We receive instructions from our superiors in the Command Center and develop leads in the field in an attempt to locate and catch the “fugitives” on the run. There was absolutely no script, as we chased the fugitives from state to state we went wherever the clues we were developing in real time led us.
John: How did you get involved with Hunted?
Shadow: The exact selection process for me and several of the others remains confidential. As you know several of the cast members are recently retired from whatever governmental organization they worked for, or they may still be employed or associated with them. But I can say that I did not audition nor apply for this role, I was contacted partially because this is what I do for a living.
In order to protect someone (celebrity, survivor of domestic abuse or estranged spouse) one of the most cost effective and efficient ways to do that, from one specific threat like a stalker, is to hunt and locate the threat. Bail bondsmen hire private investigators like myself to locate fugitives, relatives hire private investigators to locate long lost relatives, bill collectors hire private investigators, etc.
John: How did you enjoy your experience on Hunted?
Shadow: I was thoroughly impressed and enjoyed every single day of filming. After day one, I never knew where we would spend the night because we never knew where the fugitives were running too. I met some really great people during this event and I’ve become intimately aware of all the behind the scenes stuff that goes into filming what we see on television or the big screen. The producers, the associate producers,the production assistants, the sound men, the camera men, it’s a lot. I now stay until the end of movies and read the credits on the screen looking for familiar names on the screen.
John: What was your biggest takeaway from Hunted?
Shadow: I have the same mindset that hopefully all the viewers will have. We should all see how much personal information we have online in the various social media forums. We could all heighten and raise our personal protection awareness and use the information from the show Hunted to better protect us as citizens and make it harder for identity thieves, or persons who are looking for a target of opportunity.
John: I have written about H.O.P.E. in the past. What is your relationship with them?
Shadow: Currently I am affiliated with H.O.P.E. thru a former military officer whom I’ve worked with on other projects. I’m making preparations that will allow me to participate in this nonprofit organization by being on the ground in Africa working with various park rangers and other officials to combat illegal hunting and poaching. As you know Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants (H.O.P.E.) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, non-governmental organization with a mission to conserve Africa’s wildlife resources by providing African counter-poaching and counter-wildlife trafficking programs with world class training, advisory, assistance and procurement services.
John: What skills can you bring to help H.O.P.E.?
Shadow: I grew up in the South Bronx borough of New York City, in the Lambert Houses Housing Development(projects) on 180th Street & Boston Road. During the summers, I would escape the urban hustle and bustle of the city by going away to the Ten Mile River Boy Scout Camps in upstate New York. During the school year, my high school was on Fordham Road and as a short cut I could walk from my neighborhood thru the zoo almost every day to get to school. The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States and amongst the largest in the world. It comprises 265 acres of park lands and naturalistic habitats, through which the Bronx River flows.
I remember the giraffe, the lions, the gorillas and especially the elephants. There were so many elephants that there once was an elephant house in the Bronx Zoo. Recently, I returned to visit the zoo and was told that although the elephant house is still there, they only had 2 elephants left in captivity and they moved them to an exhibit where in order to see them, you have to pay an additional fee. Then I was told that when one of the remaining 2 dies they will ship the other to an elephant habitat or sanctuary so that it doesn’t have to live out its last days alone.
We as humans shared this planet with upwards of 10 million African Elephants at one time, then we reduced the population to between 3 and 5 million African Elephants as recently as the 1940’s. By the 1990’s the population of African Elephants was more than halved, from 1.3 million to around 600,000. Today its estimated the total population is down to 450,000. If we don’t stop their demise they will be extinct soon, and it’s hard for me to imagine that future generations will have to go to a museum and see African Elephant bones next to Dinosaur bones because we hunted and poached them into extinction.
Just as a pink ribbon doesn’t cure cancer, but it raises awareness to the fight against cancer and is a sign of solidarity with those who are battling cancer. Just like we know not to purchase diamonds from regions and countries that will use the profits to fund terrorism or use child slave labor to mine for the diamonds, so the world is aware to only purchase conflict-free diamonds, and not blood-diamonds.
I am trying to do the same with the African Elephants that are being poached for their ivory.
There are several causes in which one could donate and do some good in this world; clean water, organ donors, heart disease, cancer, world hunger, child abuse, domestic violence, poverty, human trafficking – this list can go on, and on, and on. But at the end of the day you must pick one cause, and start with that.
John: How can someone help you in your mission to save elephants?
Shadow: They can go to the non profit H.O.P.E. foundation via mail or they can go online at:
https://www.generosity.com/animal-pet-fundraising/support-hope-anti-poaching–4 where you can see a 2-minute video explaining most of the items we discussed,and they can make a tax-deductible donation right there.
Additionally, if someone is involved in social media they can locate me at #shadowhuntedcbs or @shadowhuntedcbs on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook. I have a link to the generosity site for H.O.P.E. on there also.
Additionally, mycompany’s website www.sps500.com (Shadow Protective Services, LLC)will have a link to the generosity site up as well.
Finally, tune in to watch Hunted (#Hunted) on Sunday 22 January 2017 after the NFL’s AFC Championship Game on CBS. Then weekly on Wednesday’s at 8pm/ET on CBS (please check your local listings or set your DVR).
Hunted will premiere on January 22nd after the AFC Championship Game on CBS
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and The Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.