Pentagon to buy Operation Dark Heart first print for book burning

burning books fires up sales

In an unprecedented attempt at censorship, the Pentagon wants to buy the entire first printing of Operation Dark Heart. Image: CC pcorreia/Flickr

“Operation Dark Heart” is the latest book to get the kind of publicity money can’t buy. This time it comes courtesy of the Pentagon. Military intelligence officials said “Operation Dark Heart,” the memoir by a former intelligence officer in Afghanistan, reveals classified information damaging to national security. To suppress the book, the Pentagon, flush with Defense Department cash, simply plans to buy the entire first printing and burn it.

‘Operation Dark Heart’ sneaks past Pentagon

“Operation Dark Heart” is by Anthony A. Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and currently a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. It’s a first-person account of five months Shaffer spent in 2003 as a DIA officer based at Bagram Air Base near Kabul in Afghanistan. The New York Times reports that Army reviewers approved “Operation Dark Heart” in January. The publisher, St. Martin’s Press, planned to release the book Aug. 31. But the DIA didn’t see the manuscript until July, when it determined that the book contained classified information. By then, several dozen copies of the book had already been sent out to reviewers and online booksellers.

‘Operation Dark Heart’ content

Some of the allegedly classified information in “Operation Dark Heart” concerns a pre-9/11 operation called “Able Danger,” which Shaffer claims identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. According to Fox News, the DIA wants passages removed where Shaffer alleges he told the 9/11 Commission that Able Danger knew about Atta as early as 2000. Atta was the leader of the 9/11 hijackers and piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center. A report released later by the Department of Defense concluded there was no evidence to support Shaffer’s claims.

Burning fans flames for bestselling book

The Pentagon is negotiating with Shaffer’s publisher to buy the entire first printing of “Operation Dark Heart.” The Washington Post reports that the Pentagon’s plan is to destroy all 10,000 copies. A second printing, without passages disputed by the DIA, is being prepared by St. Martin’s press. The first printing is sitting on pallets in a Virginia warehouse. But the Times bought a copy online late last week. “Operation Dark Heart” is currently #19 on Amazon’s bestseller list but listed as “temporarily out of stock.”

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