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Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book 347

jamie writes "Operation Dark Heart, a book about the adventures and frustrations of an Army officer who served in Afghanistan, has ruffled some feathers at the Pentagon. From the article: 'The Defense Department is attempting to buy the entire first printing — 10,000 copies — of a memoir by a controversial former Defense Intelligence Agency officer so that the book can be destroyed, according to military and other sources."
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Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book

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  • by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:53PM (#33547874)

    I think our government should just abolish the first amendment. They clearly don't believe in it. This just makes me so sick. Where is wikileaks when you need them?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ziest ( 143204 )

      This government, I would not call it "ours", has not believed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights since at least the late 60's. The peak of this country was some time in the early 80's. The downward spiral has begun.

      • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:53PM (#33548396) Journal

        Your history is a little too molested for my taste. the real destruction of the US constitution started during the civil war time and really became institutionalized during FDR. You are at minimum 100 years off and generalship at least 30 years off the most noticeable disregard of it.

        FDR said at a speech that the government shouldn't be involved welfare or social issues two years before he was elected president. He then did did an about face and trampled all over it. In 1930 FDR said:

        As a matter of fact and law, the governing rights of the States are all of those which have not been
        surrendered to the National Government by the Constitution or its amendments. Wisely or unwisely,
        people know that under the Eighteenth Amendment Congress has been given the right to legislate on this particular subject, but this is not the case in the matter of a great number of other vital problems of government, such as the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance, of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare and of a dozen other important features. In these, Washington must not be encouraged to interfere.

        This s[eech was given considering the Volstead Act. He states that he knows they need a constitutional amendment in order to act on matters of the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance, of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare and of a dozen other important features. Yet he totally ignores that two year later as president, creates a standoff with the supreme court in which they ended up backing down and bending the interstate commerce clause in order to save face, and this was the biggest disregard for the constitution by the government in recent times and it's still being conducted to this day. Why you just now think it's happening is a mystery to me. but it still happening is not surprising at all seeing how when you allow one infraction, others will follow.

      • by Totenglocke ( 1291680 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:37PM (#33549056)

        The downward spiral began with Lincoln violating the Constitution and starting a war to prevent people from peacefully leaving the US. I have an old Lit. book from college with personal letters in it written by Lincoln - there's one where he writes to the Confederate leaders and in very plain terms says that he's ok with letting them keep slaves as long as they rejoined the US and acknowledged his supreme power - if they refused to bow before him, he would destroy them. Then once FDR came to power and violated just about every last inch of the Constitution.........but I just expanded a comment below and saw that he goes into FDR, so I'll stop there.

    • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:04PM (#33548004) Homepage

      The first amendment is irrelevant. From TFA, the military's attempting to keep hidden the real names of intelligence officers involved with some actions. Any criticism of the military actions is still likely in the second edition, which is already approved. The first amendment does not grant the right to endanger others by means of speech. It grants the right to hold and express any opinions you want, and Congress will not render such expression illegal.

      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @12:11AM (#33550316)

        Something I think many forget, or never know is that part of a security clearance is a non-disclosure agreement. You agree not to disclose classified material. It is as binding as any other NDA, and in fact has criminal penalties behind it. Now that doesn't mean you can never talk about anything. Things get declassified, after long enough passes this tends to happen by default (50 years usually).

        However it does mean that you have to be careful what you disclose. In general, the government works with people in this regard. You want to write a book about something that is legal for you to disclose, they'll review it to make sure nothing goes in there that shouldn't. In this case, it sounds like the events can be talked about, but not the names. Makes sense.

        What happened here is that it got missed somehow. They noticed they missed it, but to until after the printing run was done. So "mea cupla," they ask the author to change it, and teh publisher to do another run. However the first run is still done, the money spent. So they buy it up. Now everyone is happy.

    • Actually the idea of some entity trying to buy every single copy of a book to keep it secret, strikes me of more like a PR stunt than something feasible.

      If you want to actually bury something, you buy the _rights_ to it. Then you get copyright extended until kingdom come like Disney. Copyright is just as misused for preventing something from being seen as it is used as originally intended.

      Trying to just buy the copies off the market is purely pointless if someone else has the copyright, as basically nothing

    • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:34PM (#33548266)

      I think our government should just abolish the first amendment. They clearly don't believe in it. This just makes me so sick. Where is wikileaks when you need them?

      The author is a vet and had the military review the book. After publishing someone thought something had erroneously been left in. The author and publisher are cooperating, a new version is already being printed without the part in question. Buying the first printing of books may be the simplest way to deal with them. The military reviewers goofed not the publisher so the publisher should not suffer any loss. Given that the author and publisher do not want to reveal anything sensitive and are cooperating with the government I don't see censorship. Censorship is when someone wants to publish and is prohibited, not when someones says is all this ok with you ... no ... ok lets edit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Nope, the "editing" is still censorship. There are many forms of censorship and reasons to do it, but the fact there is some kind of censorship in most states, even those that are supposed to be democratic. After all, the communists didn't prevent most authors and journalists from publishing, they just asserted the right to say what is ok and what isn't. And when it wasn't, there was editing. Yet saying the communist didn't censor the newspapers that were published is a little bit of a stretch. Like many th
    • Is this perhaps a job for Wikileaks? There are copies "in the wild" after all...
  • Didn't the Church of Scientology do something similar to this once?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by muuh-gnu ( 894733 )

      They sent out their minions to buy up Hubbard books in order to artificially push them into the charts.

      Maybe the Pentagon is trying something similar here? ;)

    • Sure, and a Florida pastor was recently trying to make a start in doing the same to the Koran.

  • Kindle Version (Score:4, Insightful)

    by virtigex ( 323685 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:53PM (#33547888)
    Maybe he should also publish a Kindle version. The author could really clean up then.
  • He should have a copy transcribed, and release it in a torrent.

    • "He should have a copy transcribed, and release it in a torrent."

      Government employees, military and civilian, are subject to NDA regarding classified information. Naming names is desirable to those who want to expose everyone involved in classified ops, but not necessarily required for the public to be entertained.

  • by Jartan ( 219704 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:57PM (#33547938)

    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.

    • by BlakJak-ZL1VMF ( 256320 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:07PM (#33548020) Homepage

      mod parent up, case dismissed, nothing to see here, move along...

      misleading blurbs FTL.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Why is this even a story?! On ship once, our cruise-book (think yearbook for the navy.) had to have pages cut out and sharpied over because there were pictures of things that the photographer and publisher had agreed not to use. It wasn't because we hated books or free speech, it was because there are some things we don't want potential enemies to know. This is no different. If you once had a security clearance and then write about your experiences you are still under contract for the clearance you once had
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nailer235 ( 1822054 )
      No kidding, let's not become the Fox News of the internet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bjourne ( 1034822 )
      Since when does publishers have to get OK from the government on what to print? The freedom of the press guarantees that the government will not interfere in publishers work. Then, if, after the fact, they find that something libelous or damaging has been printed, they can take action. But not before that. That is censorship.
      • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:22PM (#33548166)

        Don't US officers have to agree to let the military vet any books about their experiences if they want the job?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Aladrin ( 926209 )

        "agreed upon by both parties"

        Maybe you missed that bit. It's not government forcing anything. The publisher agreed to it. The government made a reasonable request and was willing to compensate the publisher for their trouble, and everything is fine. The 2nd version will be printed and anyone can buy it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by lordmetroid ( 708723 )
          Yeah, it is so easy to say no when one party has immense firepower and the vail of legitimacy to make you dissapear if you do not agree.
      • by Trepidity ( 597 )

        The publisher probably can't be prosecuted (which is one reason they're being paid off instead, probably), but ex-intelligence officials do need permission to publish about their work. When accepting employment, they sign a contract agreeing to run any future publications about their work by the Publication Review Board for prepublication clearance.

        The Supreme Court upheld that arrangement in 1980 in Snepp v. US [google.com], in a short 6-3 per curiam opinion. It's a strange opinion, because this sort of thing usually

      • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

        Comes with being in the military. I believe as an officer you have to pretty much sign a statement saying you give the military approval of anything you write.

        You say the guy is no longer on active duty? Fine, but if he was an officer he probably is still an officer, just not active duty. You have to go through a lot to actually resign your commission.

        If the guy was just a grunt this wouldn't apply.

      • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:02PM (#33548462)

        The publisher is in the clear, but if classified info is in there the author can go straight off to prison. The issue here is that the DoD erroneously okayed the first edition on that issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Camel Pilot ( 78781 )

      Crap i had a rant all prepared and you go and take the fun out of it....

      Seriously this type of reporting is akin to all those emails I get from my Tea-Partier Mother-in-Law and I have to take time to let her know she is spreading lies and misinformation in order to incite and such is harmful to a democratic system of government.

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:09PM (#33548046) Homepage Journal

    1. write a book about a subject
    2. the subject must be something that someone or some organization wants to cover up
    3. the said someone or organization buys all your copies in order to cover up the subject
    4. profit!

  • Okay, suppress all of these -- take 'em, shred 'em, burn 'em -- but don't you dare touch the Quran.
  • So the government is going to buy all prints straight from the press?
    How about a second print?
    Surely this will become the most popular book of all times, as measured in sales.

    • So the government is going to buy all prints straight from the press?
      How about a second print?
      Surely this will become the most popular book of all times, as measured in sales.

      Except the second edition has been edited to remove the information that the DoD objects to in the first edition. They're just trying to clean up after a mistake (the book was cleared for release, but now they're claiming it wasn't cleared by the "proper" authorities).

  • I mean, they sold out the first printing, which means there is plenty of demand :D
  • Yea!!! Modern day book burning!!!!

    We American's have finally come full circle now. Next week, burning a witch at the stake (Sponsored by Kingford)


  • presumably you'd have to do a denial of service? This is an argument for eBooks that I hadn't considered before....
  • The publisher will just laugh and print more. I'm disgusted that the Pentagon would trade real taxpayer money for fake property.
  • That was Assange's palm smacking his rather large forehead!

  • by darkwing_bmf ( 178021 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:53PM (#33548394)

    For all the people say "LOL they'll just print more" or "OMG censorship is bad!" here are the relevant parts of the story:

    "[T]he Defense Intelligence Agency objected to the use of the names of American intelligence officers, among other issues." and "A new print run, without the disputed passages, is being prepared by the publisher."

    This compromise is reasonable and legal. We still get the story but the intelligence officers names won't be published.

    • The issue is, of course, that the publisher paid to have a first run done. Would rather suck if they couldn't sell any of those. It would be a big sunk cost. Never mind if the government would even have the authority to tell them not to sell it, it would be a really dick move, one that would hurt the publisher. So the government instead said "We'll just buy up the entire production run. You agree to sell them to nobody else, we take all of them and destroy them, you go ahead with the 2nd edition with our bl

  • by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @08:51PM (#33549418) Homepage

    "Thank you for giving us a green light to print money, Pentagon." --The Publishers

  • Wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @09:08PM (#33549482)

    The first printing was so popular, we're going to crank out another 100K pronto!

  • ....profit! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ukemike ( 956477 ) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @09:29PM (#33549570) Homepage
    1. Write book the military doesn't want seen in public
    2. Publish
    3. Let Pentagon buy up entire printing
    4. Keep making more printings for them to buy
    5. PROFIT!!!
  • by John Pfeiffer ( 454131 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @12:18AM (#33550350) Homepage

    ...if the entire first printing sells out almost immediately (Regardless of the reason), doesn't that pretty much ensure it will get another printing?

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI