Skating on Stilts and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $19.95
  • Save: $1.00 (5%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by FlippingPages
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: !STOP! Please read these comments. This book is ACCEPTABLE. It may include stains, light water damage, heavy notes or highlighting, damage to the cover, inscribed, partially worked, etc. It is guaranteed to be legible with an intact spine. PLEASE DO NOT purchase this copy if you are seeking a nice clean copy for your shelf or as a gift. This book would be suitable to read or study and toss in a backpack. If it comes with a CD it is not included.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren't Stopping Tomorrow's Terrorism (Hoover Institution Press Publication) Hardcover – June 15, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0817911546 ISBN-10: 0817911545 Edition: 1st Edition

Buy New
Price: $18.95
24 New from $5.57 20 Used from $0.14 3 Collectible from $87.67
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$18.95
$5.57 $0.14
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Frequently Bought Together

Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren't Stopping Tomorrow's Terrorism (Hoover Institution Press Publication) + Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (The Joanna Jackson Goldman Memorial Lectures on American Civilization and Government)
Price for both: $34.94

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Holiday Deals in Books
Holiday Deals in Books
Find deals for every reader in the Holiday Deals in Books store, featuring savings of up to 50% on cookbooks, children's books, literature & fiction, and more.

Product Details

  • Series: Hoover Institution Press Publication
  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Hoover Institution Press; 1st Edition edition (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817911545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817911546
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The title of [Baker's] new book refers to accelerating technological change and the new dangers it's creating. Our society is advancing, technologically, at a very rapid clip; but so, unfortunately, are the terrorists. 'It's like skating on stilts that get a little longer each year.' he writes. 'Every year we get faster and more powerful. Every year we're a little more at risk. We are skating for a fall, and the fall grows worse every year.'

That prognosis is more than a little unsettling, given Baker's resume©. As general counsel to the National Security Agency (the Pentagon's foreign electronic-surveillance arm) during the presidency of George H. W. Bush, he was a staunch privacy advocate. As policy chief at the Department of Homeland Security during that of George W. Bush, he spent years locked in a tug-of-war with privacy advocates over every initiative to adjust our security strategies.


If Baker is not precisely a pessimist, he is certainly gloomy; but even the most optimistic national-security official would find himself chronically dispirited by the effectiveness of the constituencies arrayed against all efforts to devise new ways of protecting ourselves from terrorists. Baker's book is a treasury of examples.

The book recounts some important successes, and in his unremitting gloominess Baker is almost certainly guilty of not giving himself, or the Bush administration, quite enough credit.

--National Review

Are we doomed to suffer another major terrorist strike? For some, it seems like a remote possibility, with the greater danger lying in policies of hyper-surveillance. For others, the real danger is complacency—the assumption that the threat has passed—and a misplaced eagerness to scale back the policies that have kept us safe for nine years.

One man who has pondered this question from a pivot point in the federal government is Stewart Baker, a general counsel of the National Security Agency in the Clinton years and a policy chief in the Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. With Skating on Stilts, he offers a memoir of day-to-day life within a major Washington bureaucracy and an insider's analysis of the challenges to domestic security in the post 9/11 era.

--Wall Street Journal

Skating on Stilts is full of such anecdotes, and Baker, who was a key Homeland Security player from 2005 to 2009, makes a persuasive case against the privacy absolutists. He reprises his successful effort to pry airline passenger data out of the Europeans, who are even more uncompromising about privacy than American activists. He tells the story of how the wall erected between intelligence-gathering by the FBI and law enforcement, though designed to protect civil liberties, ended up blinding authorities to the unfolding 9/11 plot. And he recounts how other agencies blocked, on privacy grounds, DHS' bid to maintain and update a database to continually screen the backgrounds of scientists who work with deadly biological pathogens.

Baker deftly skewers the original legal theorist behind the right to privacy, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who was scandalized in 1890 by the fact that newspapers published flattering details about a party at his house. Brandeis also found it outrageous that a newspaper could take and publish a photo of a person without his permission. Obviously, the idea of what constitutes an invasion of privacy has evolved dramatically. Baker portrays privacy advocates as fussy Luddites.

When the government collects information about people, Baker acknowledges, some bureaucrats may improperly access it, as when State Department employees rifled Barack Obama's passport file during the 2008 presidential campaign. But the employees were easily caught and disciplined, Baker notes. The answer is to hold bureaucrats accountable for abuses, he says, not deny them important security tools.

--Los Angeles Times

Book Description

Stewart A. Baker, a former Homeland Security official, examines the technologies we love–jet travel, computer networks, and biotech–and finds that they are likely to empower new forms of terrorism unless we change our current course a few degrees and overcome resistance to change from business, foreign governments, and privacy advocates. He draws on his Homeland Security experience to show how that was done in the case of jet travel and border security but concludes that heading off disasters in computer networks and biotech will require a hardheaded recognition that privacy must sometimes yield to security, especially as technology changes the risks to both.


More About the Author

Stewart Baker is a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a partner at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C.

From 2005 to 2009, he was the first Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security. As assistant secretary, Mr. Baker oversaw Department-wide policy analysis, including cybersecurity policy, international affairs, strategic planning, and relationships with private sector, advisory committees, and law enforcement.

Mr. Baker's law practice covers homeland security, international trade, cybersecurity, data protection, and foreign investment regulation.

During 2004 and 2005, Mr. Baker served as General Counsel of the WMD Commission investigating intelligence failures prior to the Iraq war. From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Baker was General Counsel of the National Security Agency, where he led NSA and interagency efforts to reform commercial encryption and computer security law and policy. From 1979 to 1981, he helped start the Education Department and served as deputy General Counsel of that Department. (That's two cabinet level start-ups, for those keeping track, and two is plenty for anyone.) He was also a law clerk to Hon. John Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as to Hon. Frank M. Coffin, U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, and Hon. Shirley M. Hufstedler, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Baker has served on numerous boards and commissions. He testified before the September 11 commission on intelligence and law enforcement issues and has been a member of the President's Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration, the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on telecommunications and electronic commerce, two Defense Science Board panels on information warfare defense, and the Markle Task Force on Technology and Terrorism. He has also been an advisor to international organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Coming in June 2010: "Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren't Stopping Tomorrow's Terrorism" in which Stewart Baker examines technologies we love - jet travel, computer networks, and biotech - and finds that they are likely to empower new forms of terrorism unless we change our current course a few degrees and overcome resistance to change on the part of business, international, and privacy advocates. He draws on his Homeland Security experience to show how that was done in the case of jet travel and border security but concludes that heading off disasters in computer networks and biotech will require a hardheaded recognition that privacy must sometimes yield to security, especially as technology changes the risks to both.

In a lively memoir, the author tells how he overcame the European Union's privacy campaign against US security measures in the wake of 9/11, and built a new border security strategy based on better information about travelers. He explains how that approach would deal with air security risks such as Umar Abdulmutallab (the "Christmas Day Bomber"). He admits to failures as well, showing how the privacy and business lobbies that guard the exponential status quo were able to defeat attempts at increased Internet security and stronger regulation of biotechnology. Instead of fighting all technologies that strengthen government, he concludes, privacy campaigners should must look for ways to protect privacy by working with technology, not against it.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
5
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 6 customer reviews
I highly recommend this book to students of terrorism, government security policy and privacy issues.
Policy Reader
I would even say this is a book to bring to the beach - and to give to others so they are aware of the challenges ahead of us as well.
The Big D Reviewer
Baker's discussion of the famous Brandeis article on privacy and its implications is particularly interesting.
2010Reviewer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LiveForMyNose on June 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Skating on Stilts should be required reading for anyone with a leadership role in homeland security. Baker takes policy -- ordinarily dry except to those in the field -- and turns it into compelling, thought-provoking fodder by recounting the stories of some of the hardest issues he dealt with while at DHS. These same issues remain hard, and are likely to become even more intense arenas of conflict and concern in the next 5-10-15 years.

Anyone who wonders why government is so slow, so complicated, will no longer think that the reason is lazy people in Washington. Baker points out how difficult it can be to get through the process and end up at the right policy decision -- even when the goal seems obvious.

Surprisingly, he includes quite a lot of information about his personal emotions and actions in this book, so you end up with a real feeling of rapport as you move along.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joel Brenner on February 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is fascinating from start to finish. It's also a hoot. And sometimes discouraging. Baker's account of "The Wall," that bizarre rule that prevented our left hand from telling our right hand what information it held before 9/11, is deeply engaging. I thought I knew all there was to know about that, and I was wrong. And his account of the negotiations with the E.U. privacy crowd, which essentially was trying to re-erect the same wall, is riveting. It's highly unusual to read a Washington book that is literate and written with a real voice, as Baker's is and has. As an account of the bureaucratic wars, this volume deserves a permanent place on the shelf. It should be a regular part of a national securities curriculum, for sure; but it's also a great primer on the art of negotiating and in particular on the use of the clock and the power of letting the other side know you're willing, as Nancy Reagan liked to say, to just say no.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reader on July 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book provides a rather narrow account of the legal issues that have impacted on what used to be known as the Global War on Terrorism. Stewart Baker is a lawyer who worked in the General Counsel Office of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the 1990's and, after the disaster of 9/11 joined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under its second director Michael Chertoff. This book concerns the related issues of protecting the privacy of U.S. citizens and protecting their safety from terrorist attacks.
The reader learns a good deal about the workings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the special court that determines if intelligence operations undertaken within the U.S. meet its criteria. The book also covers the legal issues that have become central to identifying and preventing terrorist attacks against U.S. property and citizens. These latter issues are matters not just of U.S. Law, but also of International Law. Baker provides particularly interesting discussions of his efforts to bring the European Union into line with what the DHS determined to be minimum U.S. screening procedures.
An unintended consequence of this book is that it also reveals how remarkably ill-informed the senior officials at DHS, including Baker, were of the structure and nature of terrorism. In the most egregious example Baker reviews the difficulties he had in gaining access to the records of the Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Transactions (SWIFT). In point of fact it was not a problem, but SWIFT records weren't very helpful either since very few terrorists identify their accounts as "terrorist funds" like a Christmas account.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again