US Pentagon to ban book by DIA intelligence officer
September 14, 2010 1 Comment
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
American military officials are in negotiations with a major publishing firm to prevent the distribution of a new book on the Afghanistan War by a US intelligence officer, even though thousands of copies of the book have already been printed. Written by US Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, the book, Operation Dark Heart, is a personal memoir of the author’s five-month tour in Afghanistan in 2003, as an officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The Pentagon has admitted that its censors did send Shaffer an official clearance letter, authorizing him to forward the manuscript to a publisher –which he did. But it was only after the book had gone into print, that the Defense Department realized that it had neglected to forward a copy of the manuscript to the DIA, as required by regulations, which stipulate that all US government agencies mentioned in the manuscript must approve it prior to publication. In early August, after inspecting a copy of the manuscript, the DIA identified over 200 passages that, in its judgment, “could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to national security”. Based on the DIA’s opinion, the Defense Department now says that the book, 10,000 copies of which have already been printed, cannot be distributed to booksellers without removing information such as names of US intelligence officers and details of covert operations undertaken by US forces in Afghanistan. In a sign of recognition of its blunder, the Pentagon says it is currently “working closely and cooperatively with the publisher, LTC Shaffer and his counsel to address the problem”. However, as the publisher –St. Martin’s Press– is not backing down, “addressing the problem” may mean that the Pentagon will have to purchase all 10,000 copies of the book’s first edition and turn them into pulp. With taxpayers’ money, of course.