Operation Dark Heart: Pentagon Bought & Destroyed 9500 Copies To Protect Military Secret?

Posted by on Sep 27th, 2010 and filed under Featured, News Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

The Pentagon recently bought 9,500 first edition copies of the book “Operation Dark Heart”, a memoir written by U.S. Army Intelligence officer Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, and have destroyed them. U.S. Defense Department officials deemed it necessary as the book contains materials not to be shown in public. The 9,500 first edition books were never distributed due to U.S. Defense Department intervention and stayed inside the publisher’s warehouses in Virginia with the exception of about a hundred copies circulated in advance.

The book is an account of Shafer’s tour in Afghanistan and depicts the use of codes, operations, and related information of how the intelligence agencies worked.

A second censored edition was to be published this September 2010 but now the Pentagon has inclination that with some of the first edition books (apparently the hundred or so copies distributed in advance) still out to the public, the censored parts could still be known from the first edition. Parts of the second edition books that have been blacked out can be deciphered through the original manuscript.

The original manuscript was approved by the army for printing in 2003 after changes were made to it by an army review and a hundred copies were distributed in advance. After other U.S. intelligence agencies saw the book they sought the army to have it changed stating that the book needs to be filtered more since it still contains a lot of sensitive materials. The army obliged by buying the 9,500 undistributed first edition books through its publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for $250,000 but could not recover any of the other prints circulated and sold in advance.

Well, the damage has been done. Even with the army destroying the majority of the original first edition books, it will be in vain. People are now interested in the contents of the first edition more than the filtered second edition. It would have been better for the Pentagon to have let the issue go than try to crucify itself in preventing the contents of Shafer’s book to be known to the public. They only gave more fuel to the fire by buying the books using taxpayers’ money and drawing a lot of attention to themselves and to the book.

(image credit: dailymail.co.uk)

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