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Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan -- and The Path to Victory [Hardcover]

Anthony Shaffer
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 24 2010

On Friday, August 13, 2010, just as St. Martin’s Press was readying its initial shipment of this book, the Department of Defense contacted us to express its concern that our publication of Operation Dark Heart could cause damage to U.S. national security. After consulting with our author, we agreed to incorporate some of the government’s changes into a revised edition of his book while redacting other text he was told was classified. The newly revised book keeps our national interests secure, but this highly qualified warrior's story is still intact. Shaffer's assessment of successes and failures in Afghanistan remains dramatic, shocking, and crucial reading for anyone concerned about the outcome of the war.


“While I do not agree with the edits in many ways, the DoD redactions enhance the reader’s understanding by drawing attention to the flawed results created by a disorganized and heavy handed military intelligence bureaucracy."  —Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer had run intelligence operations for years before he arrived in Afghanistan. He was part of the “dark side of the force”---the shadowy elements of the U.S. government that function outside the bounds of the normal system. His group called themselves the Jedi Knights and pledged to use the dark arts of espionage to protect the country from its enemies.

Shaffer’s mission to Afghanistan, however, was unlike any he had ever experienced before.

There, he led a black-ops team on the forefront of the military efforts to block the Taliban’s resurgence. They not only planned complex intelligence operations to beat back the insurgents, but also played a key role in executing those operations---outside the wire. They succeeded in striking at the core of the Taliban and their safe havens across the border in Pakistan. For a moment Shaffer saw us winning the war.

Then the military brass got involved. The policies that top officials relied on were hopelessly flawed. Shaffer and his team were forced to sit and watch as the insurgency grew---just across the border in Pakistan.

This wasn’t the first time he had seen bureaucracy stand in the way of national security. He had participated in Able Danger, the aborted intelligence operation that identified many of the future 9/11 terrorists but failed to pursue them. His attempt to reveal the truth to the 9/11 Commission would not go over well with his higher-ups.

Operation Dark Heart tells the story of what really went on--and what went wrong--in Afghanistan. Shaffer witnessed firsthand the tipping point, when what seemed like certain victory turned into failure. Now, in this book, he maps out a way that could put us on the path to winning the war.



Product Details


Product Description

Review

“Anthony Shaffer has written a gripping account, filled with amazing detail, of an otherwise secret world. Shaffer has the instincts of a thriller writer and the knowledge and perspective of the professional insider. Operation Dark Heart is a fascinating page-turner.”

-- Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers

“A fascinating look into the highly complex world of modern combat, clandestine intelligence and bureaucrats run amok. Tony Shaffer walks and runs us through a critical time in the history in the war in Afghanistan. From the opening to the closing, you are on the edge of your seat. Tony is, in all aspects, the real Jack Bauer - but with an intellect.”

--Dr. Christopher M. Lehman, former Special Assistant to President Reagan, National Security Counsel

“[Operation Dark Heart] takes you inside the espionage world, a labyrinth of secret agencies that do not like to share secrets."
--Army Times

Review

“Anthony Shaffer has written a gripping account, filled with amazing detail, of an otherwise secret world. Shaffer has the instincts of a thriller writer and the knowledge and perspective of the professional insider. Operation Dark Heart is a fascinating page-turner.”

-- Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers

“A fascinating look into the highly complex world of modern combat, clandestine intelligence and bureaucrats run amok. Tony Shaffer walks and runs us through a critical time in the history in the war in Afghanistan. From the opening to the closing, you are on the edge of your seat. Tony is, in all aspects, the real Jack Bauer - but with an intellect.”

--Dr. Christopher M. Lehman, former Special Assistant to President Reagan, National Security Counsel

“[Operation Dark Heart] takes you inside the espionage world, a labyrinth of secret agencies that do not like to share secrets."
--Army Times
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull. April 30 2013
Format:Paperback
Dull. I kept thinking that this guy, even though he was in Afghanistan should be wearing a suit and tie with a know it all smirk on his face. Sitting in an office with all the other laptop warriors trying very hard to be involved but not too much as he may just get bruised like the peach his is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom of speech? Oct. 17 2011
By Carlp
Format:Hardcover
You must buy and read this book if for no other reason than because of the massive amount of censorship contained in it! Every time I show this book to someone, they can't believe it. Another good reason to buy it is because the people in power did not want us to buy it (they bought the first 10000 copies and than censored the second print).

I also really enjoyed the writer's style, it read like a novel and I found muself not being able to put it down on many occasions.

I strongly recommend it.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Operation Dark Heart - heavily censored Nov. 2 2010
By cyberaj
Format:Hardcover
Do not purchase this book. It is heavily redacted. Too many pages of text blacked out.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  217 reviews
743 of 832 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOST MY SPINE IN AMERICA . . . Sept. 11 2010
By ickytips - Published on Amazon.com
I'm not angry at Amazon, nor am I angry with the author or his book, and that's why I gave this item a perfect, five-star rating; they don't provide a rating scale that can accurately manifest my disappointment in the situation that has been forced upon us--each and every one of us who ordered this book with the belief that we were going to receive it, only to have the rug torn out from under us. A cover-up set in motion by a nation who denounces censorship, praises freedom of speech, and who won't hesitate to annihilate any person or entity daring enough to threaten our "god given" rights; daring enough to go toe-to-toe with the most powerful, morally bankrupt nation on this planet (but hey, at least we're not Communists!).

Our country, the land of the "free," home of the brave, where democracy is more of a buzzword than a legitimate political system--unless you're voting for America's newest idol, model, or celebrity dance duo.

But, I digress... I searched high and low for this book. Every possible website you could think of; some saying that the item wasn't in stock, some that it was available for pre-order and would be delivered 23 December, 2010, still others not even mentioning that it's not available until after you purchased it. The latter is what I dealt with.

I found the book on a site that shall remain nameless, and it was the 1st edition, uncensored print. It was in stock for $17.98, so I promptly placed my order. The following day I checked my order status, ecstatic that I was lucky enough to snag a copy of this now infamous book, only to find that my order was still being "processed." After checking the status of the item itself, I was deflated when I saw that it was no longer available, with an availability date of 24 September, 2010. I promptly canceled my order as I knew that I would not be getting the 1st edition print, but rather the redacted, government approved edition when the supply was replenished on 24 September, 2010.

The fact that we've all been denied access to this literature is a violation of our rights, and I don't think that I should have to shell out $1,000+ in a 10-day bidding war on a well known auction site just to read this book in its original form. How long before our leaders deny us access to websites critical of this country and its foreign policy?

Mass surveillance, control over the economy, propaganda disseminated through government controlled mass media--this is not where America is headed, this is where America is NOW. Totalitarianism at its finest. You may think you're free, but the only thing you're free to do is work, consume, and die.
249 of 292 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Government "Corrected" Version Sept. 10 2010
By Steve Frasher - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Please DO NOT send this item unless it is the OriginalOperation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan -- and The Path to Victoryl -as written version. I am not interested in obtaining a "corrected" version
380 of 460 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What Happened to Freedom of the Press? Sept. 10 2010
By Roger J. Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I, too, do NOT want to buy this book in its censored (redacted) version. Who is the Defense Dept to tell us (AMERICAN CITIZENS) what books we CANNOT have? They had the ability to review this book with both the author and his publisher BEFORE it was printed. Where, in the Defense budget, does it allow the Pentagon to purchase ALL 10,000 copies of a press run? What will they do, distribute them to the troops or burn them all? The US government sure looks fool-hardy and desperate in its attempt to abort FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. If St. Martin's Press is smart, it will sell the books to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and have them all shipped to his home. Then, go ahead and PRINT SOME MORE for the rest of us. The American people deserve to see what's in this book for themselves!
88 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars US wants to buy 1st printing of reservist's memoir Sept. 10 2010
By James Evan Pilato - Published on Amazon.com
U.S. wants to buy 1st printing of reservist's memoir

By Peter Finn and Greg Miller
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 9, 2010; 11:28 PM

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.

"Operation Dark Heart," which was scheduled to be published this month by St. Martin's Press, recounts the adventures and frustrations of an Army reservist, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, who served in Afghanistan in 2003, a moment when the attention of Washington and the military had shifted to Iraq.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dont' bother with this version Oct. 13 2010
By reconrob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As most people have pointed out, this version of the book is almost un-readable. I probably would have given it at least 3 or 4 star in the non-redacted version, but the author would have been better off re-editing the book so that it flowed better. And a big "thumbs-down" to Amazon for not being up-front with the version of this book that they put out.
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