Pentagon: Partial retreat on book censorship

The Defense Department announced after 20 months that over half of the passages they ordered retracted from an Afghan war memoir could be printed without disclosing classified information. (Scott Shane, The New York Times, January 25, 2013)

Anthony Shaffer, the memoir’s author,  claims the government is classifying information from the memoir already on the public record, in one instance revealed in a Congressional hearing.

The Defense Department attorneys reject any challenge of their right to classify information anyway they choose, ““There is no need to establish procedures by which the plaintiff or his ‘experts’ may submit their opinions regarding the classified information because any declaration or submission disputing the substance of the Government’s classification experts’ proper determinations is due no weight.”

“But to the extent that it is beyond debate or challenge, one may say that the classification process has no intrinsic claim to respect from anyone who has not already signed a non-disclosure agreement,” argues Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News, January 24, 2013. -db