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

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Macmillan, Sep 24, 2010 - History - 320 pages
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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.


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User Review  - Teufle - LibraryThing

A great read despite all the blacked out lines. Shows an interesting perspective on the other side of Spec-Ops. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jefferno - LibraryThing

9500 copies of this book were burned by the United States military. I guess I'm going to have to read it. Read full review


1 The Usual Suspects
2 The Dark Side
3 Into Afghanistan
4 The Boy and the Bomb
5 We Will Kill the Infidels
6 Mountain Viper
7 Force on Force
8 To the Front
16 The Death Star
17 Bronze Star
18 Madrassah
19 Abort Mission
20 Under Fire
21 Alpha Team Go
22 Theyre Really Pissed at You
23 Second Voyage

9 The Interrogation
10 Improvised Raid
11 IED
12 Al Qaeda Hotel
13 The Heart of Darkness
14 Able Danger
15 Tipping Point
24 Unsafe at Any Speed
25 Darkness Falls
How to Win in Afghanistan

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About the author (2010)

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer is a Bronze Star Medal recipient and a lieutenant colonel in the U. S. Army Reserve. A CIA-trained senior intelligence operations officer, he has more than twenty-five years of experience in the intelligence community. He is a Fellow and Special Lecturer at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington, D.C.

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