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.
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.