The Department of Defense thinks that a spy novel written by a former intelligence official will be detrimental to national security. No it’s not another one of Ian Fleming’s Bond books or another of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series but this book is based on actual operations taking place in Afghanistan. Anthony Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence official, has written Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan. Nearly 9,000 books have been distributed so far and the DOD wants them all to themselves. The Government intends to buy them all back and have them destroyed.
According to the BBC the DOD had been working very closely with Shaffer but now they feel it is too detailed. The book which had been available on Amazon is now listed as “temporarily out of stock”. The New York Times is so far the only one to acknowledge having a copy of the book.
Mr. Shaffer had been a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve and even his command had cleared the book for publishing but the Defense Department says that a full review has not been completed. The Government fears that the book reveals classified information including names of intelligence officials and details of actual NSA eavesdropping activities; something Bush made legal.
The book was due to be published on August, 31st but the publisher, St. Martins Press, says that the date has been pushed back to September 24th. So far it appears that the DOD has not been able to buy back all of the books because several are already in review circulation to various sellers. I find it astonishing that the Government can catch something as small as a few names in a book but they cannot prevent a massive leak from a public source like WikiLeaks. I think it is fair to say that if it is allowed to be published it certainly will sell plenty as any book that the Government wants to destroy is a book worth buying in my opinion.