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Pentagon May Buy Up Copies of Afghan War Book Over Disclosure Fears

3 years ago
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Don't burn 'em, buy 'em. The Defense Department wants to purchase the entire first printing of a book by a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer who describes a number of planned secret operations in the Afghanistan war.

Ten thousand copies of the book "Operation Dark Heart," by an Army reservist, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, are in a Virginia warehouse, but they are scheduled to be shipped to bookstores later this month by St. Martin's Press, the Washington Post reported Friday. The book was cleared by the Army Reserve earlier this year, but now the Defense Intelligence Agency is objecting to the use of names of U.S. intel officers, among other issues. A Pentagon official told the Post the DIA discovered "some issues we were very concerned with" and referred the matter to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Other agencies then weighed in, the official said, and all of them "had major objections to things in this book."

The idea is to simply buy out the first edition, with an agreement to make modifications in the second printing. In the book, Shaffer, now a fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, describes his frustrations when attention shifted from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2003, the Post said. The Bronze Star winner writes about a number of covert plans, including an aborted cross-border surveillance operation using sophisticated technology to eavesdrop on al-Qaeda in tribal areas of Pakistan.

What's unresolved is how to handle the 10,000 copies of the book's first edition. Assuming the Defense Department can work out a deal to buy the books -- at $25.99 a copy, that would cost a mere $259,900, a pittance to the Pentagon -- then what? Shredder, anyone?

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37 Comments

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kimschmitt726

during wwII if someone did this they were charged with treason. why not now?

September 11 2010 at 3:34 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
mr. johnson

Articles of war,information to the enemy????????

September 11 2010 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan

I spent 20 years in the military and handled classified material on a regular basis. When I was granted access in the beginning of my career, I had to sign a non disclosure agreement stating I wouldn't disclose in any manner the information I was given the priveledge of knowing. I'm sure the author of this book signed one also. Why is DOD not holding him to it? Did something change since I retired in 2003?

September 11 2010 at 2:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jsimancas

IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE , BUY 10 THOUSANDS COPIES , I WOULD PRINT 20K COPIES AFTER THAT AND THEN 30K COPIES , KEEP IT BURNING I WOULD KEEP IT PRINTING

September 11 2010 at 1:41 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
kilburnrd3

That's exactly how we should be spending taxpayer money. Don't try to fix what your doing wrong. Buy all the evidence to cover it up!

September 11 2010 at 1:31 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Sun

My daughter is a lithographer. The books are handled by several, and they're put on computers to make them book ready, before going to press. Sample copies are made, then they're run. I hope the military realizes that and they get all copies, or they might as well not even try. The other thing is that, there is always a second printing. Isn't this reservist leaking information that might make it a treasonous act by its disclosure? If this isn't just some ploy to sell a million copies, then why aren't they areesting the guy and confiscating the leaked data?

September 11 2010 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chapbari

RE: "Operation Dark Heart" copies are available through book sellers here on the internet. Not sure how the DoD is going to collect all the stray copies!

September 11 2010 at 1:17 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Sun

What i don't understand is this. When I had family in the military, they were told not to tell certain things under or they would be put in prison. That meant not only while in service, but the silence was to be kept forever. If it endangers lives, why would anyone want to disclose such things? There are plenty of things that I has passed through my fingers that are secret through the years. No it wouldn't kill someone, but the materials are someone else's research and it never was for me to make it public. We had to swear an oath when we we were hired as public service persons, we also had to sign copyright and ownership of research papers. Is the military more lax in swearing in its personnel than a state run university with government contracts?

September 11 2010 at 1:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
wpnwilo1

Well, that's one way to boost sales.

September 11 2010 at 1:05 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
LEIGHTON

$259,900 is not a pittance to us tax payers.

September 11 2010 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to LEIGHTON's comment
Pamela

Seems to me that if the government is going to buy up these books, they belong to the people. I am one of the people, and I want MY copy. They know my address and can send it without delay.

September 11 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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