Clark, a Muslim convert who was captured earlier this month in Syria by U.S.-backed forces, said he witnessed executions and crucifixions during the more than three years he spent with the terrorist group. He reportedly lived like a civilian, earning money from selling Pringles and Snickers.
But the 34-year-old, who is being held in Kurdish custody, told NBC News in an exclusive interview that he does not regret his decision.
“I wanted to go see exactly what the group was about, and what they were doing,” he said. “Of course I saw the videos. I think with the beheadings, that’s execution. I’m from the United States, from Texas. They like to execute people, too. So I really don’t see any difference. They might do it off camera, but it’s the same.”
Clark claims he never fought for ISIS and he was detained nearly a dozen times for refusing to take up arms, the report states. Each time, however, he was released and suffered no abuse at their hands.
As previously reported, Clark’s résumé was found at a house in Iraq and in a cover letter, he offered to work for ISIS as an English teacher.
“I was born and raised in the United States and have always loved teaching others and learning from others as well. My work background is largely in English and I consider working at the University of Mosul to be a great way of continuing my career,” read the cover letter, which used the alias Abu Muhammad al-Ameriki.
“I was in living in Mosul at the time, and I needed a way to support myself,” Clark said. “I wanted to learn more about the ideology. I’m a political science major, global business minor. I like politics. I like travel, world events. That’s what I wanted to do,” he said, adding that the terrorist state “ was a place that was constantly being bombed,” he said.
“You were always on edge. Day and night, just bombs and airstrikes. You sleep in the middle of the day. I spent most of my time living in a mosque. I just remember every day hoping not to get bombed.”