Pentagon Buying Up All Copies Of A Book It's Not Happy About

from the like-that-will-work dept

jake andrews points us to the news that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is quite upset with a new book about the war in Afghanistan by an army reservist. Even though the Army approved the book, the DIA says that it did not approve the book and that it has too much confidential information. In order to deal with that, the Pentagon has apparently agreed to buy up the 10,000 copies already printed in order to destroy them. A new version of the book, without the DIA-upsetting material will be printed later. Of course, this attempt at information destruction doesn’t really seem to be working. The author has already talked about lots of stuff in the book, and review copies of the original book had already been sent to many press outlets. In other words, it’s unlikely that this effort at suppression will work very well… It’s tough to kill off information that’s already out there.

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Comments on “Pentagon Buying Up All Copies Of A Book It's Not Happy About”

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DannyB (profile) says:

The pentagon should also burn those books


The most intelligent people in history have burned books, and found that doing so is the most effective possible way of stopping the spread of undesirable ideas and information that we need to be protected from.

The pentagon’s tragedy strategy of buying up the books is also infinitely scalable. They can buy books faster and in greater quantity than the publishers can produce and sell them.

If an unknown obscure preacher can gain national attention by threatening to burn the quoran, and can imagine that he has negotiating power and can even get whole buildings moved, then surely the pentagon should follow the same successful strategy.

Even if the pentagon doesn’t burn them, then whatever other means of destruction they use will be equally effective at stopping the spread of these ideas and information. If that doesn’t work they can also announce that they will hold their breath until this information stops spreading.


Cohen (profile) says:

I am an author of computer graphics books.

If the Pentagon will tell me what it was they didn’t like in the reservist’s book, I can put it into my book too.

And then they can buy up all the copies.

10,000 copies will be about $20,000 in royalties.

Of course if the reservist has PDF copies of his book floating around, the Pentagon will never get back all the copies of the book.

Anonymous Coward says:

there is more to the story

Queue the TAM comments…

According to the article in the NYT:
“The disputed material includes the names of American intelligence officers who served with Colonel Shaffer and his accounts of clandestine operations, including N.S.A. eavesdropping operations, according to two people briefed on the Pentagon’s objections.”

Sounds like the author has been working with the gov to make sure the book is approved. The book contains people’s names and that seems to be the major issue. So they are working a second version without the names. So the gov wants to buy up the books in an attempt to protect its people. Big deal. Their plan may not work but this does not seem like some kind of conspiracy or some way to stifle the author’s speech.

Martin LaBelle (profile) says:

Censorship Capitalist style

After a few hours of though, and a glass of wine. I’ve decided that is actually quite funny. I guess the military could have tried to “suppress it in the name of security”. I actually prefer them simply buying the Author off.
I wonder what could have been so bad. As a Soldier, I often wonder why things are kept secret… is it because they’re dangerous or because they’re embarrassing?

Faceless Minion (profile) says:

Re: Censorship Capitalist style

I have to admit, it’s certainly a nicer approach then lots of the heavy handed garbage that is prevalent in shutting people up. Perhaps this is embarrassing enough that buying the author off is preferable, here? Perhaps they hope that when he’s sitting pretty on cash he won’t make as much of a fuss.

Pax Vobiscum says:

Buy (and/or burn) the books...

Various three-letter agencies have been been doing things like this for decades (and we call ourselves a democracy). Still, kind of tame as compared to out and out murder – contrary to the early school years assertions that the Ends do not justify the Means. As a (recent) former VP said, “We do it because we can.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Misleading Story / Subject

This isn’t really anything major, other than the DIA is doing the right thing. Basically, the book has the real names of some people that could be put in danger if it was general knowledge (expect the original to be WikiLeaked…).

They screwed up when consulting on the book originally and didn’t get the names altered or redacted and it’s already been printed up. Instead of leaving the publisher in the cold, they’re going to buy all the first runs.

Basically they’ve taken ownership for a mistake and the book is still being released, just without the names of the people that could supposedly/possibly be put in danger.

Nothing to see here, move along…

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