Journal: A Case Study in Confused Secrecy

09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy
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September 9, 2010

Pentagon Plan: Buying Books to Keep Secrets

By SCOTT SHANE

WASHINGTON — Defense Department officials are negotiating to buy and destroy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of an Afghan war memoir they say contains intelligence secrets, according to two people familiar with the dispute.

The publication of “Operation Dark Heart,” by Anthony A. Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, has divided military security reviewers and highlighted the uncertainty about what information poses a genuine threat to security.

Phi Beta Iota: NYT has not done enough fact-checking.  We did not know Shaffer but we have long been fans of Capt Scott Philpott, USN (now retired) and we are certain that a) ABLE DANGER did identify 3 of the 19; b) INSCOM destroyed the evidence rather than give it to the FBI.  Secrecy really is arbitrary and largely theater.  The idea of spending taxpayer dollars to destroy books intended to inform the taxpayer is troubling.  This has been done before, notably to the first edition of Col L. Fletcher Prouty, USAF (Ret), The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, now finally easily available at Amazon.  For perspective, see Review: Edward Lansdale’s Cold War (Culture, Politics, and the Cold War) (Paperback).