Free Speech vs. CIA
Now, who do you thinks going to win here?
T.J. Waters has a point. Apparently he was told his book was okay to go, but then the CIA changed their collective mind (sorry, bad dig) and decided to revise it a bit more. As a writer, I can understand Waters frustration, but...
It's the CIA, what do you really expect? Fairness?
Now, there's two problems I see with the whole mess.
1) If the CIA was okay with it the first time, and Waters didn't make any changes (this has not been clarified), why would they change their minds? Did they not do their job the first time (hmmm), or did some internal mechanism change? And, more importantly, will we ever know why they felt these deletions were important?
The thing that makes me question what changes Waters made is this:
"But last month, after more than a year of waiting, the agency informed him that dozens of deletions would be required -- many of them blocking previously cleared material, he said."
If the book really hadn't changed, then wouldn't it ALL be previously cleared material? If the book HAS changed, then why is he oh-so-surprised that it would have to be reviewed again. And, if he gave away just a little bit more information in the right places, presumably it might be enough to help people connect dots that the CIA doesn't think they should be connecting.
So, as a writer, this kind of pisses me off. As a citizen, it makes me wonder just how honest Waters is being and whether it's really a good idea to publish for the world what our CIA agents are learning in their special classes. I mean, sure, some of us may dream of being the next Sidney Bristow, but most of us realize that's just not going to happen and are also wise enough to realize we really wouldn't want it to happen to us.
2) Now, my second problem may prove more telling in the whole mess. Here it goes... Waters was in for 2 years. Two years, that's it! And, he knows enough to write a book? Hmmm. I wonder.... He went through training, became a desk jockey (not that I have a problem with desk jockeys, but this book is supposed to be about training for field work), got out of the CIA and proceeded to write a book. Something's missing here. Something important. It's on the tip of my fingers...it's....it's...CREDIBILITY!!!
Now, people buy stupid things all the time. Stupid books are amongst those stupid things people buy. This book very well may sell. It may sell big time, especially if Oprah picks it up (yes, I know, now I'm just getting snippy). The thing of it is, the writer in me wants to jump up and scream about the censorship, but the citizen in me is saying that maybe, just maybe, the big bad CIA isn't really trying to hush this man up, but is instead trying to protect us, the unwitting public, from misinformation!
Though, ya' know, this hype is probably going to make his books jump right off the shelves once it finally gets on them...it's great to buy American!