The good news for author Anthony A. Shaffer is that his new war memoir Operation Dark Heart may briefly make the bestseller list. Unfortunately, the bad news is that all 10,000 copies of the book's first run will be snatched up by one buyer who plans on immediately destroying all of them. That's right, Defense Department officials are plotting this operation in order to conceal the purportedly sensitive "intelligence secrets" that the book contains.
The Pentagon's plans may not be complete shock to Shaffer, who was formerly a Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. Before the book was set to be published, The New York Times reports, it underwent several rounds of edits and redactions by Army reviewers. But everything apparently changed when "the Defense Intelligence Agency saw the manuscript in July and showed it to other spy agencies, [and] reviewers identified more than 200 passages suspected of containing classified information, setting off a scramble by Pentagon officials to stop the book's distribution."
But if the Defense Department thinks that buying all the copies of the book will stop the information leak, they may quickly be disappointed, as a single errant copy could be scanned and distributed on the Internet with ease. If anything, the dramatic suppression of the book may increase demand, especially among interested journalists like Daniel Schulman at Mother Jones who had this to say about the now highly-sought title:
I admit I was unfamiliar with Operation Dark Heart, the new book by former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and retired army reservist Anthony Shaffer, until I read about it in the Times last night. But now I can't wait to get my hands on a copy--partly because it sounds like an interesting read (tagline: "spycraft and special ops on the frontlines of Afghanistan and the path to victory") but mostly because the Pentagon does want me (or you) to.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.