Photo of military men around a burning garbage.
If the Pentagon gets its way, every original copy of "Operation Dark Heart" will be destroyed. CC by U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos/Flickr

“Operation Dark Heart” is the latest book to get the kind of publicity money can’t buy. In this instance, it’s the Pentagon giving the book a boost. ”Operation Dark Heart” is a chronicle of Afghanistan written by an ex-intelligence officer. Military spooks claim it contains information that threatens national security. Money is no object to the Pentagon, which is preparing to write a check for the first run of the book so it can reduce every pallet load to ashes.

Pentagon pulls ‘Operation Dark Heart’

Anthony A. Shaffer wrote “Operation Dark Heart” about his experience in Afghanistan as an officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Army reserve. Its pages bear his personal recollections from five months in 2003, when he served as a DIA officer at Bagram Air base in Kabul, Afghanistan. “Operation Dark Heart” was first reviewed by the Army in January. The New York Times reports that the book was approved at the time. As planned, publisher St. Martin’s Press proceeded with a release date of Aug. 31. However, “Operation Dark Heart” didn’t cross a DIA desk until July. Only then was it determined that classified information was in its pages. By then, several dozen copies of the book had already been sent out to reviewers and online booksellers.

Author’s 9/11 claims draw attention

Material in “Operation Dark Heart” deemed classified included passages about an operation Shaffer that was involved in called Able Danger, which he claims identified hijacker Mohammed Atta long before the 9/11 attacks. A Fox News article said that DIA reviewers ordered that Shaffer’s claims to the 9/11 Commission that Able Danger ousted Atta in 2000 must be removed. Atta flew one of the planes into the twin towers and is known as the leader of the hijackers. Shaffer’s story lacked conclusive evidence, according to a Defense Department report written as the official response.

Burning fans flames for bestselling book

Shaffer’s publisher is negotiating with the Pentagon, which wants to write a check for the first printing of Operation Dark Heart in its entirety. The Washington Post said the Pentagon wants to ensure the book does no damage by feeding all 10,000 copies to the fire. A second printing is already in progress at St. Martin’s press — sans the sensitive passages. Meanwhile, 10,000 copies languish in a warehouse, awaiting their ultimate fate. The Amazon bestseller list has “Operation Dark Heart” at No. 19. For those who have wondered why it’s listed as “temporarily out of stock,” now you know.


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