As readers of this blog know, I pre-ordered TJ Waters' book, Class 11, wherein he writes about the first CIA class held/formed after 9/11....last October 1st....and it's publication been postponed more than once. Now I've learned what's been going on, and I am totally torqued.
From the New York Times, an excerpt wherein TJ's book is discussed:
The renewed emphasis on the culture of secrecy has included a tightening of the review process for books and articles by former agency employees, said Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer who represents many authors who once worked for the C.I.A.
Authors say the agency's Publications Review Board has been removing material that would easily have been approved before. While the board in the past has generally worked with retirees to make manuscripts publishable, it now more often appears to be trying to block publication, the authors say. And reprimands for violations have become more stern, including letters warning of possible Justice Department investigations.
A C.I.A. spokeswoman, Jennifer Millerwise Dyck, denied that the Publications Review Board's standards had changed.
"The only rule is that they are not allowed to have classified information in their manuscripts," Ms. Millerwise Dyck said.
But Mr. Zaid said: "There's been a fundamental shift in practice at the Publications Review Board. There's literally been a reinstitution of the 1950's attitude that what happens at C.I.A. stays at C.I.A."
Mr. Zaid said the shift in the agency's approach to publications under Mr. Goss was most clearly illustrated by its handling of a book by Thomas Waters Jr., who wrote about his experiences as a recent agency recruit.
He said the manuscript of Mr. Waters's book, titled "Class 11: Inside the CIA's First Post-9/11 Spy Class," was approved by the Publications Review Board in September 2004 with several modest changes. Mr. Waters then sold the book to Dutton, made the changes and submitted the galleys for a final review.
In February, Mr. Zaid said, the board returned the galleys with nearly half their contents marked as classified and not approved for publication. Mr. Waters, who left the agency after two years for family reasons, has sued the agency to permit publication, and the case is pending.
"What's ironic is that it's a very positive book," Mr. Zaid said. "He had a great experience and he thought this book would be a great recruiting tool."
In other cases, Mr. Zaid said, an acquaintance was recently refused permission to publish an op-ed article that drew on material from the agency's Web site. Another client's book was turned down because, the author was told, even though no single chapter was classified, the whole manuscript revealed enough information that it had to be classified. This so-called mosaic theory of classification, Mr. Zaid said, is being used more often to prevent publication.
Another former employee with long experience having publications approved agreed that reviews had become tougher. "It takes longer and there's a much more conservative approach," the former employee said, adding that he believed that some of the deletions had crossed the admittedly fuzzy boundary between protecting classified information and censoring personal opinions.
Another retiree agreed, saying he believed the agency had begun pressing authors to excise some unclassified material from manuscripts. "It's a more complex process than it used to be," he said. "Now, they question a lot more things."
Yet another agency retiree, who has in the past received warning letters from the C.I.A. after occasionally publishing articles without seeking approval, said he had recently gotten a far more strongly worded letter. This one informed him that a file had been opened to document his transgressions that could be forwarded to the Justice Department, he said.
Mr. Goss's effort to lower the profile of the agency has apparently been extended to the Web site of its Center for the Study of Intelligence, which for years has carried unclassified articles about the history and practice of spying from the in-house journal Studies in Intelligence.
Max Holland, who has written two articles for the C.I.A. journal, recently reported in The American Spectator that the online posting of unclassified excerpts from an agency review of the failure to assess Iraq's unconventional weapons accurately had been delayed for seven months. The last issue represented on the C.I.A. Web site is from mid-2005.