In this book, Professor Harvey Molotch argues that the government is worrying about the wrong things, and wasting huge amounts of money in the process. With a focus on post 9-11 events, he suggests that while significantly more security measures are in place, most people do not feel safer, and it is even arguable whether we are indeed safer.
The book takes on a number of very different subjects, including public health via the availability of public restrooms, the 9-11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and more. When it comes to post 9-11 airport security, Molotch shows how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's reactive security programs have done very little to enhance airport and aviation security.
The book provides a fascinating look at the New York subway system and how it dealt with the disaster of 9-11. It also provides a detailed overview of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Not really a fluke, the disaster was expected and predicted. The book notes that numerous water projects, including the creation of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal, meant as a way to provide shipping with a shorter route to the Gulf of Mexico, created a scenario that exacerbated the flooding of New Orleans.
For the most part, Dr. Molotch's recommendations for better design and safety are pragmatic. While many make sense, some may be far too radical for Congress or public safety officials. Nonetheless, this contrarian look at many of the security measures we have in place today gives the reader plenty to think about. Perhaps if planners took these ideas to heart, we would be safer and would have spent a lot less on security.
I'm no expert in security at public places, but this book makes an interesting read for a layman. With such books, one always wonders if the author tells you the truth on the topic or is playing the facts and argument to make a sensational statement. I can't vouch for this book. But it feels to be pretty "decent", so to speak.
This should be mandatory reading for all government officials. We could simultaneously reduce the budget deficit, increase quality of life, and increase actual security, by following the advice in this book. The author walks through real life infra-structure and explains how security and usability could be enhanced by stepping back from the knee-jerk "do something" responses we see so often.
EDIT: There is clearly a huge gap in understanding here. Those interested in "root" are encouraged to search for the following online:
Reference: Expectations of Intelligence in the Information Age with Review by Steele, Now Also Wright 2.8
I'm the former spy and honorary hacker who sounded the alarm on cyber-security in 1994 and who questioned every aspect of the Department of Homeland Security, pointing out that the joint fusion centers would be a waste of money and that, I quote "50% of the dots will be bottom up dots and we have no way of ingesting them." I am also an arch critic of the National Security Agency, which processes less than 5% of what it collects and is generally incompetent at 163 of the 183 languages that matter--it's also largely useless and very late on out of the way threats like Benghazi.
What the author does not realize is that DHS and especially the TSA are not about security. They are a combination of employment programs to reduce the stress of 22.4% unemployment, and an alternative pork fest now that Pentagon pork is starting to wind down. "Top Secret America" is less about invading the privacy of all US citizens, or theater, and more about continuing to spend money in insane ways that reward the industrial complexes and the banks at our expense. The leadership of DHS is not stupid -- they simply do not have a mandate to actually perform in the public interest. The US Government spends money the way the RECIPIENTS of our tax dollars want it to spend money, NOT on what is in our best interests.
The author may also not realize that there are rogue elements within the ultra-secret side of the US Government that are out of control and willing to kill Americans on American soil (as well as overseas) to further perpetual war. There are also evangelicals and pentecostals who are in alliance with Israel, itself famous for false flag attacks on US aircraft and barracks as well as the occasional really outrageous act such as their attack on the USS Liberty. The FBI appears to have done some spectacular work clamping down on a handful of military officers who have been trying since 2007 to fake an attack by Iran on a US naval vessel.
The last several attacks in the US that were not prevented by DHS are also suspect. Second and third shooters have been reported by witnesses and then "scrubbed" from all reports; drugs have been present in heavy doses in the individuals finally killed; and other anomalies have emerged including in the recent shooting in Connecticut where much of the media reporting was flat out wrong. All of these killings should be -- but are not being -- investigated as a cluster, with a specific focus on whether some if not all of them were manipulated mass murders.
Security is the least of our problems -- the author is 100% on the money but barely skims the surface of mis-governance. The two-party tyranny is totally corrupt and totally dishonest, the labor unions and religions have sold out, the newspapers are controlled (I was among those who offered $10,000 torward full page ads against the war on Iraq justified by 935 now documented lies, our money was refused by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times (or so I was told), and our schools have become low-rent prisons that beat the creativity out of kids by the fifth grade. From agriculture to defense to energy to health to "justice" (the prison-slavery complex), it is DOCUMENTED that 50% of every tax dollar is fraud, waste, or abuse. In that context, this book is a fun read, but it is missing the larger picture I have tried to provide here.
Below are eight books and two DVDs that in my view capture the larger dysfunctionality of America, within which this book is an important contribution, but terribly naive in not recognizing that DHS and TSA are exactly what they are supposed to be: useless expensive theater that rewards the few, employs many who would otherwise be unemployed, and generally avoids responsible ethical evidence-based decisions in the public interest.
There is good news. We are at the tail end of the Industrial Era. 22 December 2012 begins Epoch B, an era of bottom up collective intelligence and sustainable resilience that is rooted in community. Over time a combination of tax revolts and public recall or defeat of corrupt representatives will begin to roll-back the insanity of borrowing a trillion a year so we can have BOTH an entitlement state and an armed state.
I have put all the good ideas I could collect from others at one website, We the People Reform Coalition. America is not ready for radical rebirth just yet, but the day is coming.
Best wishes to all Robert David STEELE Vivas THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust