On Friday, November 5th, The Institute of World Politics and the Center for Advanced Defense Studies co-sponsored a book lecture for Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan – and the Path to Victory with author LTC Anthony Shaffer.
LTC Shaffer was introduced by IWP Director of Operations Brooks Sommer. LTC Shaffer described the background of his book, as well as why it is important for US citizens to understand the reason for US operations in Afghanistan, and what we need to do to win. He explained that his book is also largely written to give sense of what it is like to be undercover in the region.
Operation Dark Heart itself was an attempt to instill mortal terror in members of the Taliban in a part of Pakistan so that they were concerned with staying alive instead of plotting further terrorist attacks. The reason for this operation was to buy more time for US forces. The operation proceeded according to plan until it was halted by a new incoming US general.
LTC Shaffer recommended that the US withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and let the region sort itself out politically, because it it not in the best interest of the US to continue operations in the area.
OPERATION DARK HEART: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan – and the Path to Victory follows the journey of Major Anthony Shaffer (now Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer) as he faces the brutal realities of the Afghanistan conflict.
Shaffer witnessed firsthand the chaos of war up close and its effects on the men and women who served in battle first during his time as part of espionage operations, and then again when he went into the field to help the ground war in Afghanistan. It was on the ground where Shaffer witnessed the flawed policies upon which top officials relied. Shaffer and his teams knew the war was winnable by simply crossing the border into Pakistan and crushing the insurgency. Shaffer’s well-crafted “Operation Dark Heart” was designed to infiltrate Pakistan and take out the bad guys. The brass knew it would work, but the idea of crossing into Pakistan was something to which top military officials and the Pentagon would not agree.
This was not the first time Shaffer dealt with this type of bureaucratic mind-set. He participated years earlier in an aborted intelligence operation named “Able Danger.” Those in the operation identified many of the men who became the 19 hijackers of the 9/11 tragedy but – unfathomably – failed to pursue them. When Shaffer went public and presented this information years later to the 9/11 Commission, it did not sit well with his superiors and would cost him his job.
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer is a Bronze Star Medal recipient who is a CIA-trained senior intelligence operations officer and reserve Army lieutenant colonel with more than twenty-two years of experience in the intelligence community. Currently, he is a fellow and special lecturer at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington, D.C.
On Friday, August 13, 2010, just as St. Martin’s Press was readying its initial shipment of Operation Dark Heart, by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the Department of Defense contacted us to express its concern that our publication of the book 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.
-From the Publisher’s Note
“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