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Pentagon Makes Good On Plan To Destroy Critical Book 306

Posted by timothy
from the in-soviet-union-books-burn-you dept.
mykos writes "Remember when the Pentagon said they were arranging a taxpayer-funded, government-sponsored book burning a couple weeks ago? Well, they made good on that threat, purchasing 9,500 copies of the book to be destroyed. The publisher, St. Martin's Press, has redacted anything the Pentagon told them to redact in the upcoming second run of the book. They Department of Defense has not yet paid for the burned books, but says they are 'in the process.' Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham gave this statement: 'DoD decided to purchase copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security.' Whew, looks like we're safe now."
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Pentagon Makes Good On Plan To Destroy Critical Book

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  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:20AM (#33702662)
    Why exactly is the publisher cooperating? On the one hand, the DoD is going to pay for every copy, so the publisher has guaranteed revenue if they print uncensored copies. On the other hand, if the publisher cares about getting this information out, why would they redact it?

    Something about this smells funny.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:05AM (#33702920)

    Storage in a SCIF for 50 years would cost orders of magnitude more than simply destroying the books and reimbursing the publisher for the printing costs. (I used to certifiy SCIFs and have a good idea of how much they cost to maintain and operate.) Also, I seriously doubt the books will be be burned. Like the vast majority of destructed classified material in the US, it will probably be mulched, and the mulch will be delivered to a paper plant where it is recycled.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:06AM (#33702924)

    What about the layouter, the graphics guy, the printer, the corrector and 20 other people who might have a PDF?

  • by Allnighte (1794642) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:12AM (#33702970)
    From the previous /. story that covered this, in the comments:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1784344&cid=33547938 [slashdot.org]

    "The blurb is intentionally misleading here. The govt gave the OK for the book but then upon a later review they were worried about some names released and a 2nd printing has already been agreed upon by both parties. They are just deciding what to do with 10k books that were already printed. Obviously the publisher spent money to already print them so they aren't going to just destroy them."

    So nothing to see here, move along...
  • by Seth024 (1241160) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:23AM (#33703056)
    From the article of the original slashdotted article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090907747.html)

    "Shaffer's book was reviewed and cleared in writing by the Army Reserve earlier this year."

    They did clear it. Afterwards they realized they forgot something and are paying for the damages of the first run.
  • by ronmon (95471) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:28AM (#33703094)
    I was in the USAF ~30 years ago working for the USAFSS, later ESC. We were tasked by NSA and in fact my last posting was at Ft. Meade (NSA HQ) after several years in the far east. My TS/SCI clearance gave me access not only to Top Secret information, but the source of that information as well. You don't get drafted into this kind of work. It is something you have to work hard for and vetting for a clearance is extremely rigorous. The agreements that you sign entail many restrictions and if you don't want to be bound by them, don't sign them. If you have some kind of moral or ethical problem with that, stay out of the business. I have no sympathy for anyone who gives away national secrets. Prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
  • by canajin56 (660655) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:46AM (#33703206)
    Yeah, but the author has changed his mind from last time, going on CNN to say how this is intimidation and retaliation, and how burning a book in the digital age won't stop freedom, etc. But, basically, he was naming names and specific cities and buildings, and he was discussing classified operations in detail. The Pentagon wants some of that redacted. He says "I sumbitted it for approval!" but the Pentagon says he was supposed to submit it to them, not just to his superior officer. (He kept it within his unit). Last time, it sounded like both he and the publisher agreed with everything. But now he's talking to CNN about how everything they removed is "ludicrous" and none of it was important, and so on.
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:52AM (#33703238)

    Yes, it is. Revealing them can allow us to realize whom we've been trusting with our money, our information, and to set policies. For example, Manuel Noriegas's status as a recipient of CIA intelligence and funding and trainee of the "School of the Americas" contributed to his eventual takeover of Panama and control of its cocaine trade. Don't you think it would have been helpful to know exactly what money or support he got from the US, and useful to know what gangsters we're currently supporting and funding worldwide? And wouldn't it have been helpful to know, in advance of the war, that the claims about Iraq purchasing "yellowcake" uranium ore came from, so that they could be exposed before a war costing billions of US dollars and thousands of US lives, and which cost us any hope of lasting victory in Afghanistan?

  • by Scarred Intellect (1648867) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:29AM (#33703460) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe you guys, can you honestly forget about this article, that was handily posted two weeks ago: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/09/11/1944227/Pentagon-Aims-To-Buy-Up-Book" [slashdot.org]

    This was pointed out then that it was just more of a misunderstanding than anything else, so why is everyone reacting to it like it's a brand new issue?

    ..usually it takes just a few comments down to find one that refers back to a previously posted article here on Slashdot, either the same article (more and more common, lately) or one from the recent past.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:56AM (#33703596)

    >staying out of prison

    Classified information doesn't work the way you think it does. The only people who can go to prison for disseminating classified information are those who signed SF312. (Classified Non-disclosure Agreement) People who do not have active clearances under SF312 (or foreign nationals granted access under an appropriate treaty) are protected by the 1st amendment. Other non-discloser agreements among the publishing industry surely exist, but these are civil matters and will not end up with anyone in jail.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @12:34PM (#33703820) Journal

    But Publishers include writers.
    There's an overlap.

  • Maybe... (Score:2, Informative)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @01:28PM (#33704126)
    Maybe it's time for a revival of Samizdat [wikipedia.org]. Of course, we no longer need to use pen and paper for this, but there's not much the Pentagon could do about a torrent seeded in China.
  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @01:36PM (#33704172)
    Keep in mind that commodore64_love would have supported this move 150% had it been done during the Bush years. His mention and capitalization of Current Administration just further proves how much of a partisan ideologue he really is.

    From a non-US-citizen perspective, the difference between the US Republican and Democrat parties doesn't amount to that much. They are both extremely conservative, and the use of the the term "ideologue" would be somewhat amusing if it weren't actually a bit sad.
  • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:10PM (#33704730) Journal

    So are you saying that if more American soldiers ended up dieing, all would be fine according to you?

    Here is how preposterous your comment is. American soldiers are fighting a known enemy who kills more innocent civilians and children then the American soldier even thought to [independent.co.uk]. Last year alone, it was more then 2/3rds the civilian collateral casualty rates. In fact, the argument could be made since democracy was imposed in the area, that if the forces of the Taliban and terrorists organizations would stop killing innocent [reliefweb.int] civilians and participate in the democratically elected government for whatever change they wish to impose, that our soldiers wouldn't be killing anyone.

    Giving this information out could do little to stop any so called mass murder by our soldiers and directly cause an increase in murder and civilian deaths by the Taliban and it's allies. You shouldn't let your ideology blind you from the facts. Otherwise you will only be pretending to be righteous when you are in fact no worse then who you accuse.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:28PM (#33704842) Journal

    What's ludicrous is the apparent self promotion of the book.

    So let's look at it from another perspective, perhaps the authors perspective. He wrote a book, submitted it to his CO instead of the pentagon for review. Ok honest mistake. The pentagon wanted some things removes, he was fine with that but printing had already started. So the government buys the first run of the print so no one is out any money and this guy isn't facing jail time for disclosing national security information or top secrete information. Along comes his publicists and says we need to spend X money to promote the book or else it won't sell that much. The publicists then says, we can save some of that money if you claim you are being censored unfairly and object to everything the government removed even though you are ok with it all.

    So the author does an about face, goes all over national Television claiming he was wronged and the government spending a crap load of money to buy the first run of books is proof. He then adopts the claim that what the government removed was insignificant to the content of the book so buy it, it's still good. Hell, I bet you will buy the book just to see if you can tell what was removed from it.

    It's nothing but a win-win for the author and his change of heart can be summed up as not letting a disaster go to waste. He benefited from writing the book, from getting it cleared the wrong way, from making the appropriate changes, and now he is benefiting from complaining about it.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @05:30PM (#33705502) Journal

    >>>Keep in mind that commodore64_love would have supported this move 150% had it been done during the Bush years. His mention and capitalization of Current Administration just further proves how much of a partisan ideologue he really is.

    What the FUCK?

    Where do you get off putting words in my mouth??? You have NO idea where my policies lie, and just because I am anti-Obama does not mean I am pro-bush. Stop thinking two-dimensionally. I never voted for the Tyrant Bush, and in fact have voted Libertarian in every election since 98.

    MOD: -1 Random Ass Guessing by AC (who probably has a real account but was too cowardly to use it)

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