With Operation Dark Heart, publishing executives and intel outfits couldn't remember another instance where a government agency set out to get rid of a book that was already printed. Some months earlier, the Army reviewers who'd asked for and received some changes and redactions said they had "no objection on legal or operational security grounds" to the final version. But when the DIA saw the manuscript and showed it around to some other spy operations, they came up with 200-plus passages that might cause "serious damage to national security." By that time, several dozen copies of the book had already gone out to reviewers and online booksellers. (Those went on sale on eBay for between $1,995 and $4,995.)
So Operation Dark Heart was hastily reprinted with a number of paragraphs blanked out and, guess what?, it became a best-seller. Here are a few of the things that got canned, which the New York Times first pointed out. Everybody's known for years that the nickname for the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade is "the Fort." Censor that one! Another big secret - the CIA training facility is located at Camp Peary, Virginia. You can find that on Wikipedia but not anymore in this book! And did you know that Sigint stands for "Signals Intelligence?" You don't see that anymore in Operation Dark Heart. (I can't wait for the censors to pull my book from the shelves for revealing all this). Oh, and they removed a blurb from a former DIA director who called Shaffer's "one terrific book." Shaffer has now gone to court looking to have the book's complete text restored when the paperback comes out.
To Obama's credit, early in November 2010 he issued an Executive Order establishing a program to manage unclassified information that rescinded a Bush-era order designed to keep still more documents away from public scrutiny by putting new labels on them ("For Official Use Only" and "Sensitive But Unclassified.")
But soon thereafter came WikiLeaks' release of 250,000 secret State Department cables. This followed the group's disclosures earlier last year of 390,136 classified documents about the Iraq War and 76,607 documents about Afghanistan. As everybody knows, the politicians and the media commentators went ballistic over the cables being in the public domain – even though the New York Times, among others, was running front-page stories every day about their contents.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was for a moment our biggest bogeyman since Osama. Sarah Palin says he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" who should be pursued "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders." She stopped short of saying he should be hunted down like the caribou she shoots in Alaska. Hillary Clinton calls what he's done "an attack on the international community." (I've never known Palin and Clinton to be this cozy in the same bed, so to speak). Mike Huckabee called for the execution of whoever leaked the cables to WikiLeaks. Newt Gingrich referred to Assange as an "enemy combatant." Joe Biden described him as "closer to being a hi-tech terrorist" than a whistleblower, and some liberal democrats would like to see Assange sent to prison for life. He's also been labeled an old-fashioned anarchist, mastermind of a criminal enterprise and, at best, a control freak and a megalomaniac.