Pentagon destroys war memoir, releases censored version
The Pentagon burned 9,500 copies of a book it deemed a threat to national security. The US government paid the publisher nearly $50,000 dollars in printing costs, had the books pulled and destroyed.
A government approved censored version of US Army Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer’s “Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan” was then released.
Shaffer said he worked with the Army to ensure the information in the book was in line with the required procedures. He said he was careful to ensure the information in the book would not endanger US troops. During the process over the past two years he did remove items from the book when asked by the Army. Shaffer described the whole process as “collaborative”.
After that the manuscript was passed to the publisher in January 2010, and the whole time there was public awareness of the book and what it entailed. In fact, Shaffer appeared on a number of media outlets discussing the book and what it would reveal. The Pentagon was fully aware of the book and what was contained within it.
“No surprise,” he said. “Unless I would have gone out with a blow horn and stood in front of the Pentagon and yelled about my book, I don’t know how else I could have made it any more clear the book was coming out.”
Shaffer said the issues that later arose were concerns over what the Department of Defense did and did not like in the book. Over the past month edits were made and elements omitted from the text.
“Two major events happened which changed the atmosphere regarding my book,” said Shaffer.
First, WikiLeaks. Shaffer said the WikiLeaks issues lead to a leak of information that confirmed a lot of the things that had been in the press previously. The second impactful event was the firing of General Stanley McChrystal.
“Those two events changed the very fabric of the Pentagon and their concerns, and their attitude towards me,” said Shaffer.
The book contains information regarding information regarding a number of issues, one of which was the Taliban. Some of this information and other details pertaining to Afghanistan have now been omitted, but not all.
Shaffer explained that overall the focus of the book is Operation Dark Heart; an operation he put together aimed at targeting Taliban safe havens and destabilize Taliban resurgence efforts.