Shaffer’s book rips the lid off several stories the bureaucrats wanted to suppress: the role of a program named Able Danger in yielding information that could have uncovered the 9/11 plot; Operation Dark Heart, which could have nabbed Al Qaeda’s number two leader; and early indications that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, actively supported the Taliban. These are the incendiary bombs the censors tried to defuse. And this is the real story of Tony Shaffer’s book.
Phi Beta Iota: The Playboy folks did not do their homework–the destruction of an entire first edition is not unprecendented, it was done by CIA to the first printing (1972) of Col L. Fletcher Prouty’s The Secret Team: CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World (Skyhorse, 2008). While the title is hyped and the good Colonel was not aware of the over-arching financial crime families that the US Government has secretly supported and in some instances actually spawned from scratch, his general point to the public was clear: what is done in our name under the guise of secrecy is often criminal, generally unconstitutional, and almost always very costly in long-term blood, treasure, and spirit over both the short and the long term. What is at issue here is straight-forward: either we have a government that works in the public interest and displays integrity at every level, or we do not. It is not only the political “leaders” who have lost their integrity, but the professional “leaders” as well. Until the truth of this is understood by the majority of the American people, nothing will change.
The states of the Union are supposed to be laboratories of democracy, but this summer they have been looking more like toxic-waste dumps of futility. From coast to coast, from tundra to coral reef, state governments are in an awful fix. Their budget gaps are on track to add up to at least a third of a trillion dollars. In half the states, education funding is being cut, which means bigger classes, shoddier facilities, and fewer frills like music, art, languages, and library books. States are closing parks, draining rainy-day funds, and shrinking services for children, the elderly, and the disabled. . . . . . . .
California, it turns out, is ungovernable. Its public schools, once the nation’s best, are now among the worst. Its transportation and water systems are deteriorating. Its prisons are so overcrowded that it has to turn tens of thousands of felons loose. And its legislature has spent most of the year in a farcical effort to pass the annual budget, leaving little or no time for other matters, such as—well, schools, transportation, water, and prisons. This is “normal”: the same thing has happened in eighteen of the past twenty-two years. But the addition of economic disaster to legislative paralysis may have brought California to a tipping point.