Operation Dark Heart (partially lost memoir; 2010)

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The cover of Operation Dark Heart.

Status: Partially Lost

Operation Dark Heart or as it is also called Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan and the Path to Victory is a memoir by United States Army intelligence officer Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer. In Operation Dark Heart, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer recounts his time serving in the War in Afghanistan and the unethical practices. All 9,500 first edition copies were purchased by the United States government prior to the book's publication in September of 2010, citing that the book talked about operations that were classified. At the request of the government, 250 pages from the memoir were destroyed.[1] This caused outraged among many publishers and drew more attention to Operation Dark Heart as a result. Many organizations came to Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's side and published some of the removed pages. Later years would see some of the previously censored pages be published, but the memoir in its entirety has yet to be released.


In Operation Dark Heart, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer recounts his time in Afghanistan where he led a black-ops team against the Taliban. Throughout the book, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer criticizes the U.S. government's handling of the war in Afghanistan and how the war went wrong.[2]

Prior to the release of the memoir and made available in later revisions of Operation Dark Heart, Lot. Col. Shaffer alleged that the DIA's Able Danger program was able to identify Mohamed Atta, one of the terrorists who high jacked the planes during the September 11th attacks.[3] Another piece of content that was deemed classified and was in the book prior to the purge, was the reveal of the now-infamous N.S.A. massive surveillance network.[4] The N.S.A's massive surveillance network would later be revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

Publification of unredacted content

Despite massive efforts to stop Operation Dark Heart from hitting store shelves, the New York Times, and the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, released small exerts of Operation Dark Heart that have not yet made it into current editions of the book. On September 18th, 2010, the New York Times published page twenty-six of the book and did a side-by-side comparison of what the page looked like before and after the redactions were made.[5] On September 29th, 2010, the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy posted side-by-side comparisons of pages 13, 16, 17 30, 55, 56, 76, 195, 242, and 257.[6]

The most recent publification came when in 2015, U.S. Judge the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Rosemary Collyer ruled that Shaffer's 2006 testimony to congress could be put in future editions of the book.[7]


Due to the classified nature of the contents in the first editions of Operation Dark Heart, it is unlikely that the contents will be released for now. Future court rulings and declassifications could one day see the publication of Operation Black Heart in its entirety. As of 2020, the book in its current edition is 320 pages long, while the first edition contained 433 pages.