10 September 2010

Great advertising, DIA

During the last days of my Freshman year in Catholic school, I heard a peculiar announcement over the intercom during the morning announcements. Our head nun gave us a stern admonishment—do not bring squirt guns to class on the last day of school.

Bring squirt guns to school? What an incredible idea!

Inspired by the nuns' inadvertent reverse-psychology, I decided to bring my Super Soaker 50 to class on the last day, laying down a field of suppressive squirt gun fire upon unsuspecting classmates.

Would that the Defense Intelligence Agency have learned from my experience in Catholic school.

Last night, I received a few Tweets recommending a salacious new book, Operation Dark Heart, written by former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Anthony A. Shaffer.

What makes it so scandalous? Well, consider the fact that DIA officials identified over 200 breaches of security in the manuscript, even after the US Army had allegedly signed off on the book in January on the grounds that it had "no objection on legal or operational security grounds", according to the New York Times.

The DIA has scrambled to purchase 10,000 copies of the book in order to prevent them from hitting the open market. Yet, in the frenzy to snatch up the books before they hit the public, they've inadvertently given it a positive review from the New York Times—a boon to any publisher.

Even before the Able Danger imbroglio, Colonel Shaffer admits in his book, he was seen by some at D.I.A. as a risk-taking troublemaker. He describes participating in a midday raid on a telephone facility in Kabul to download the names and numbers of all the cellphone users in the country and proposing an intelligence operation to cross into Pakistan and spy on a Taliban headquarters. 

In much of the book, he portrays himself as a brash officer who sometimes ran into resistance from timid superiors. 
"A lot of folks at D.I.A. felt that Tony Shaffer thought he could do whatever the hell he wanted," Mr. Shaffer writes about himself. "They never understood that I was doing things that were so secret that only a few knew about them." 
The book includes some details that typically might be excised during a required security review, including the names of C.I.A. and N.S.A. officers in Afghanistan, casual references to "N.S.A.'s voice surveillance system," and American spying forays into Pakistan. 
Damn, this guy sounds like Daniel Craig's James Bond.

I doubt the DIA's efforts will be successful. They've piqued the public's curiosity, and electronic copies of the book could easily make their way onto the Internet. After all, after word of the infamous "Rolling Stan" article leaked to the press, it was distributed over the Internet, resulting in Gen. McChrystal dismissal days before the issue even hit the newsstands.

1 comment:

Greg said...

in internet parlance it's called the streisand effect