September 28, 2010

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer Speaks About His Book That Made Pentagon Bureaucrats Piss Their Pants

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's book "Operation Dark Heart" was originally set to release on August 31, 2010, but that date was pushed back after officials from the Department of Defense got a copy of the manuscript, and found things that they believed would jeopardize National Security if it was printed. On September 9, 2010, Scott Shane wrote an article in the New York Times about the Pentagon's plan to buy all the copies of the book's first printing from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press.

Lt. Col. Shaffer said that he diligently worked through the manuscript to make sure that any information that would raise security concerns was not included. From the NY Times article:
In a brief telephone interview this week before Army superiors asked him not to comment further, Colonel Shaffer said he did not think it contained damaging disclosures. “I worked very closely with the Army to make sure there was nothing that would harm national security,” he said.
But Pentagon officials saw it differently. They read the manuscript with the eyes of "guardians of the knowledge". Their censorship is reflective of the discredited attitude that National Security concerns are more important than exposing the truth and holding government officials accountable.

Government suppression of what is inherently public information goes beyond banning books by a very respectable army officer. It should be kept in mind that the U.S. government regards truthful information in the same way as the Soviet Union did. The truth, any truth, in the American government is like the infidel in Muslim lands, it is hated, and seen as the enemy. Any damaging fact about the government's prosecution of the war on terror is actively suppressed by the Pentagon, White House and CIA, and outspoken men with outstanding credentials like Lt. Col. Shaffer are ignored, or silenced.

Speaking on Fox News on September 26, 2010, Lt. Col. Shaffer said that he participated in many classified operations that he did not bring up in his book so as not to violate Army standards and U.S. law, and that everything in his book was already public knowledge. "The contention is by DOD," Shaffer says, "that even if it is in the public domain, it doesn't mean it isn't classified, so that's where there is a difference of standards."

Lt. Col. Shaffer described some of the redactions by the DOD as "loony" including their attempt to discard his official written testimony that he gave before the House Armed Services Committee in 2006. Shaffer said: "If I need to I will just ask the publisher to put an entire copy of my open testimony in the book. And so, that one I just said 'this is beyond the pale.' There were others like that, that were just really kind of loony. But, you know, I'm forced to go along it based on the process we've had to follow on this."

There is a bright spot, though. The book is number #8 on Amazon's bestseller's list, and many more people are now aware of Operation Able Danger because of the Pentagon's careless censorship. If they just ignored it, the public attention would not have been as large. Also, the government harmed itself because the popularity of the book will increase the public's understanding about the war in Afghanistan, and the overall nature of the war on terror.

It is a win-win for Lt. Col. Shaffer and the American people. And all thanks to incompetent Pentagon officials. Good job, dittoheads.

Lt. Col. Shaffer half-jokingly said; "I'm very grateful to the DOD about the way they've handled this in some ways because I couldn't have asked for a better publicity support on this." He added; "I did everything in my power, and I've continued to do everything in my power to assist them in what they asked to do. At one point in time, I was actually on my own dime, in New York City, with the publisher, going through and checking the redactions, even though I don't agree with them. . . .I sat there at the publisher's office and went through and made sure, and caught redactions they missed, so I fully cooperated every step of the way."

Finding the book's first version in a bookstore, or online sites is rare. One copy was sold for $2,025.00 on Ebay. Keith Thompson wrote a post about the sale in the Huffington Post, and said that he tracked down the seller to get more information. Thompson: "Via eBay, I contacted the New York-based seller, who detailed having bought the first-edition copy from a local bookstore. The seller declined to provide any information about the buyer or his whereabouts out of respect for the buyer's privacy."

The attention the book has received is considerable. Journalist Rebecca Schatz remarked that she's excited because it's a welcome anti-distraction in the world of news:
"His name is Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and I think he may have one of the hottest books coming out of D.C. since "The Game Change". I'm personally so fascinated by him because his book is so real and so raw, even the Pentagon has said it's too much truth. I can find out who's dating who in Hollywood or the next celeb having a baby with the click of a button. But it's not everyday you get a glimpse into the life of someone in the military."
If I didn't have to buy over expensive textbooks for school I would have money to buy Shaffer's book. Maybe I'll just read some if it in the bookstore. It is really a historical book. I hope it lives up to the hype. And I hope this isn't the last that we will hear of Lt. Col. Shaffer because he is raising important truths that could undermine the entire fraudulent war on terror (which is everyone's dream, right?) And I also hope there will be a sequel. Operation Disable Danger, or something like that. I will definitely buy that one.

Here is Lt. Col. Shaffer's interview on Fox News: