Synopses & Reviews
Were all familiar with the TSA by now—from the daunting lines to the X-ray machines to the curious three ounce rule governing liquids. But many question whether this strange assortment of regulations, meant to protect the two million people a day travelling through US airports, actually works. In this riveting exposé, former TSA administrator Kip Hawley unveils the agencys ongoing battle to outthink and outmaneuver terrorists, navigating bureaucratic limitations and public disdain to stay one step ahead of catastrophe. Citing foiled terrorist plots and near misses that have never been publicly revealed, Hawley suggests that the fundamental flaw in Americas approach to national security is the belief that we can plan for every contingency. Instead, he argues, we must learn to manage reasonable levels of risk so we can focus our near-term energy on stopping truly catastrophic events while, in the long-term, engaging passengers to support a less rigid and more sustainable security strategy. This is a fascinating glimpse inside one of the countrys most maligned agencies and the complex business of keeping Americans safe every day.
"From the cataclysm and chaos of 9/11, to the mundane ordeal of passengers being 'herded, pushed, poked, prodded, and grilled by airport security,' this brisk and engaging narrative reveals the machinations behind the X-Ray machines and pat-downs in the nation's defense against airborne terrorist activity. Weaving together stories of characters ranging from the president down to the lowliest airport employees, Hawley and Means make the tension palpable as the action flashes back and forth between American efforts at self-defense and the plotting of terrorists around the world. Hawley, who served as administrator of the Transportation Security Administration from 2005 to 2009, presents an insider's look at the institution, and though he doesn't entirely abstain from rah-rah tributes to his former colleagues, the result is by no means unalloyed praise for what he acknowledges is one of the least popular bureaucracies in all of government. Officially created in November 2001, the TSA was confronted by 'a billion details and no precedent.' Four hundred and fifty airports had to be secured, two million travelers had to be screened each day, and an army of 60,000 personnel had to be acquired and trained. The success with which the administrators managed these problems a story of 'misadventure and occasional, often-unsung moments of heroism' forms the dramatic, emotional core of this exciting book. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"PERMANENT EMERGENCY is in its own class . . . [it's] a page turner . . . Whether you largely agree with the TSA's role in homeland security or not, if you read this book your views about the agency and the people who serve in it will change. Maybe permanently." --HomelandSecurityWatch.com
“A lively, fun-to-read, insider's account of an agency whose mission is critical to our safety.”--Dana Priest, Investigative Reporter, The Washington Post and author of Top Secret America
“While it may not assuage the frustrations of air travelers, Kip Hawleys memoir of building and operating the Transportation Security Agency provides gripping insights into the challenges of defending the public from terrorist threats.”—Bobby R. Inman, admiral, United States Navy (retired), former director of National Security Agency and former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency
"Written like a thriller, this book is indispensable for anyone who gets on an airplane. Hawley was there on the cutting edge, and we're safer for it."--Robert Baer, author of See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil
"Kip Hawley has written a gripping and lucid account of his experience building the TSA from the ground up. The book explains the complexity of managing air security and it reads like a thriller. Should be in the carry on of every air traveler."--Michael Chertoff, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary (2005-2009)
“Since 9/11, Americans have been sold the idea that we have to give up our liberties in order to be safe and so we have tolerated cumbersome and expensive airport security procedures without asking enough questions about what actually works and what level of intrusion and cost we are willing to sustain. In this eye-opening book, TSA insider and expert Kip Hawley shows why trying too hard to be absolutely safe may make us both less safe and less free. His book provides a compelling argument for reexamination of our airport security practices and our antiterrorism strategies overall.”--Susan Herman, President of the ACLU and Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School
“Every flyer should read this book to understand what TSA has done to mitigate the terror threat to commercial air travel. Hawleys efforts vividly remind me of the bureaucratic chaos experienced attempting to stay one step ahead of U.S. Embassy bombers, on a DC road filled with obstacles, naysayers and turf battles, compounded with real-time terror plots and threats.”--Fred Burton, VP, Intelligence, Stratfor and the author of Ghost and Chasing Shadows
“This brisk and engaging narrative reveals the machinations behind the X-Ray machines and pat-downs in the nation's defense against airborne terrorist activity . . . The success with which the administrators managed these problems forms the dramatic, emotional core of this exciting book.” --Publishers Weekly
“Hawleys narrative traces the story of the Transportation Security Administration, created in the immediate wake of Sept. 11, 2001, and charged with improving airport security. In matters of transportation, Hawley demonstrates, the trade-off is not security vs. American values and constitutional protections, but security vs. efficiency, effectiveness and public approval . . . Throughout his narrative he brings to life details of incipient threats around the globe." -The Washington Post
Since 2001 the TSA has accepted responsibility for protecting over two million people a day at U.S. airports and managing transportation operations around the world. But how effective is this beleaguered agency, and is it really keeping us safe from terrorism? In this riveting expose, former TSA administrator Kip Hawley reveals the secrets behind the agency's ongoing battle to outthink and outmaneuver terrorists, illuminating the flawed, broken system that struggles to stay one step ahead of catastrophe. Citing numerous thwarted plots and government actions that have never before been revealed publicly, Hawley suggests that the fundamental mistake in America's approach to national security is requiring a protocol for every contingency. Instead, he claims, we must learn to live with reasonable risk so that we can focus our efforts on long-term, big-picture strategy, rather than expensive and ineffective regulations that only slow us down.
About the Author
Kip Hawley left his job in Silicon Valley a month after 9/11 to help build the TSA. In mid-2005 he became the fourth administrator in the agency's troubled three-year existence. During his tenure he facilitated a transformationof theTSA's culture and operations, improving training, upgrading technology, and dramatically extending public outreach. Since leaving the TSA Hawley has been a regular guest commentator for print media (The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, and theAssociated Press, among others), television (ABC, CBS, the Discovery Channel, CNN, NBC, and FOX News, among others). Today Hawley is a private consultant living in Pebble Beach, California. Nathan Means has worked on a variety of non-fiction books, including New York Times bestseller In Fed We Trust and other well-received titles such as Arab Voices and The India Way. He lives in Portland, Oregon.