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Offering nonjudgemental advice and ettiquette for newbies. Particularly sensitive to book publishers, book publishers and those who wish to publish a book.WASHINGTON — A publisher has agreed to remove US intelligence details from a memoir by a former army officer in Afghanistan after the Pentagon raised last-minute objections, officials said Friday.
The book, "Operation Dark Heart," had been printed and prepared for release in August but St. Martin's Press will now issue a revised version of the spy memoir after negotiations with the Pentagon, US and company officials said.
In an unusual step, the Defense Department has agreed to reimburse the company for the cost of the first printing, spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told AFP.
The original manuscript "contained classified information which had not been properly reviewed" by the military and US spy agencies, he said.
St. Martin's press will publish a book destroy copies from the first printing with Pentagon representatives observing "to ensure it's done in book publishers accordance with our standards," Lapan said.
The second, revised edition book publishers would be ready by the end of next week, said the author's lawyer, Mark Zaid.
The Pentagon also was carrying out an internal review over the episode, he said, as the army had raised no objections to the manuscript but had apparently failed to consult with intelligence services.
In the memoir, the author, Anthony Shaffer, a lieutenant colonel in the army reserve and former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officer, recounts his five-month stint in Afghanistan in 2003.
The text of the latest edition was "modified where agreement could be reached" and where the two sides disagreed, the disputed text will be blacked out, or in government parlance, "redacted," Zaid said.
But the lawyer did not rule out possible legal action to challenge the government over some of the passages deemed classified.
The publisher confirmed the book would be released in days but declined to discuss the details of the agreement.
Despite the deal between the Pentagon and St Martin's Press, review copies book publishers of the original manuscript already had been sent out earlier, which include names of some CIA officers and other details.
The book's title reportedly refers to the name of a 2003 plan to go after several operational bases used by Afghan Taliban insurgents in neighboring Pakistan.
But because the operation would have required attacking the Taliban in Pakistan, the plan was called off, a decision that angered the author.
The Pentagon's intervention publish a book comes as President Barack Obama's administration takes a tough line on leaks of sensitive information, book publishers pursuing several prosecutions.
But with copies of the original manuscript already circulating, the Pentagon's move may backfire and end up calling more attention to intelligence details that the government wanted to keep quiet, said Steven Aftergood, who runs the project on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists.
He wrote that "any effort to selectively censor the manuscript at this late date would actually tend to highlight and validate those portions of the text that agencies believe are sensitive, not to conceal them."
Aftergood, who obtained a copy of the first manuscript, said the book is written in "sometimes clunky, occasionally gripping prose." The author claims he ran an operation "deep into North Korea" book publishers and once managed to penetrate Iran's spy service.
Shaffer had submitted the manuscript to the US Army for review and received permission to publish earlier this year.
The Pentagon, however, book publishers maintains the review did not fully comply with regulations, which require that any other agency mentioned in the manuscript approve it too.
On August 6, DIA Director Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess issued a memorandum declaring the memoir's release "could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to national security."
He said the Special Operations Command, the CIA and the National Security Agency also had found publish a book classified information in the manuscript concerning their activities, including "top secret" information in the case of the secretive NSA.
Shaffer, who was decorated for his service in Afghanistan, clashed with his superiors previously over what intelligence the United States may have had leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In 2005 and 2006, the House book publishers Intelligence Committee held hearings into his claim that a DIA "data mining" program called Able Danger had identified Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker in the 9/11 attacks, a year before book publishers the assault in New York and Washington.
The DIA revoked his security clearance book publishers in 2004 and effectively publish a book fired him from the agency in 2006.