Defense Dept. oversees destruction of classified war memoir

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department says it has paid $47,000 to destroy 9,500 copies of a former Army intelligence officer's war memoir that the Pentagon contends threatened national security.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said Sept. 27 that military officials last week watched as St. Martin's Press pulped the books to be recycled.

The publisher had planned to release on Aug. 31 Anthony Shaffer's book, Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan — and the Path to Victory. Shaffer's lawyer, Mark Zaid, says the Army Reserve cleared the manuscript beforehand but the Defense Department later rescinded the approval, claiming the text contained classified information.
Shaffer and the publisher agreed to redact the material.

“After consulting with our author, we agreed to incorporate some of the government’s changes into a revised edition of his book while redacting other text he was told was classified,” St. Martin's Press said in a statement. “The newly revised book keeps our national interests secure, but this highly qualified warrior's story is still intact. Shaffer's assessment of successes and failures in Afghanistan remains dramatic, shocking, and crucial reading for anyone concerned about the outcome of the war.”

St. Martin's Press quoted Shaffer as saying: “While I do not agree with the edits in many ways, the DoD redactions enhance the reader’s understanding by drawing attention to the flawed results created by a disorganized and heavy handed military intelligence bureaucracy.”

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