Pentagon Burns first run of controversial memoir

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Pentagon Burns first run of controversial memoir

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Set 25, 2010, 11:36pm

This is a memoir written by an undercover operative in Afghanistan. He claims that a data mining project named "Able Danger" identified the ringleader of the 9/11 terrorist group as a danger in 2000. The DIA is claiming that the book contains information that could damage national security. My inner conspiracy theorist is telling me that its not a matter of national security but the government trying to cover its butt :P

Set 26, 2010, 9:07am

WAY interesting!

Set 26, 2010, 7:00pm

I'd love to have had a copy of that book.

Set 26, 2010, 7:32pm

The small New York Times piece on this story said that about 200 early reviewer copies went out before the Pentagon acted and that some had sold online for up to $2000. So perhaps you can get a copy.

Of course if correct, this also means that the government and the publisher acted to prevent the distribution of a book that was no longer in any sense secret.

Set 27, 2010, 3:48am

This is appalling but the cat is out of the bag. For the moment it's hiding in the bushes but I suspect--and hope--that soon it will come out and lie in the sun.

Editado: Set 27, 2010, 4:31am

If it's out there it's bound to get republished by someone, somewhere. Even if only in pirate copies, or on the internet.

Set 27, 2010, 4:14am

Are they barring the publishers from further editions? And how would they do that, under some Homeland Security act?

Set 27, 2010, 3:46pm

I believe from what I learned in the Navy four decades or so ago, classified material remains classified even if revealed. Subsequent revelation of it remains a crime. That doesn't mean people won't do it or that courts won't subsequently allow it especially if backed, say, with a freedom of press claim.


Set 27, 2010, 3:58pm

If I was the publisher, and a good capitalist, I would immediately order another print run and offer that one to the government also. Until the courts make a ruling this is a cash cow.

Set 27, 2010, 6:37pm

They did a whole bit about this on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me this week. Paul Poundstone said, "The sales are surprisingly brisk for my new book Operation Dark Heart Part 2. Definitely looks like a rising entrepreneur could make a killing on this one.

Set 27, 2010, 6:42pm

10> ...or be killed.

Set 27, 2010, 11:43pm

>8 Mr.Durick:

Couldn't the publisher have claimed protection under the the Supreme Court decision that allowed the publication of the Pentagon Papers (Wikipedia article).

Set 28, 2010, 12:43am

Without reviewing it I was thinking of things like that in the second part of my second sentence. That case was, if I understand it correctly, a matter of prior restraint. Even in matters of national defense the courts have been leery of prior restraint, that is where no crime has been shown to have been committed. But if you have plans for a hydrogen bomb and show them to people, I can still be brought to court for having talked with the wrong people about the structure of their triggers.

So, if someone publishes this memoir now the court may not allow a restraining order against them, but it may allow a prosecution of them after the fact.


Set 28, 2010, 8:36am

If I understood the story correctly Shaffer had already had the book cleared for publication by Army Intelligence, he was serving in the army when the events took place. Another group, the U. S. Defense Intelligence Agency, took exception and bought all the copies in order to destroy them. There is no mention of any attempts to have the publication blocked.

To me it sounds more like an attempt to save face than preserve national security.

Set 28, 2010, 11:46am

One does wonder (just like Spycatcher) how many people would have read this if the gov had done nothing.

I'm sure the contents will already be on many non-US based servers. It's extremely pointless to try and surpress information this way in the internet age.