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Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security Hardcover – April 24, 2012
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
“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 Hawley's 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. Hawley's 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
“Hawley's 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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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.
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Top customer reviews
Above all, it truly is a gripping read. Hawley tells his insider story through a series of vignettes, mostly focused on individuals who contributed to the creation of TSA and supported its operations during the years he ran the organization. He recounts how actual terrorist plots and a torrent of information dredged daily from the nation's vast intelligence networks shaped U.S. homeland security institutions in the early days and years after the 9/11 attacks.
The last chapter, in particular, is uniquely brilliant, compelling yet disturbing. It sums up lessons learned, candidly tallies mistakes made, and offers concrete advice about how to focus and lead not just the TSA, but other vital institutions that are tasked with grappling daily with what Hawley so aptly calls the permanent emergency.
This book combines both optimism about American ingenuity and an appropriately fatalistic sense that the permanent emergency will most certainly yield other successful attacks against the homeland. After which, our increasingly partisan, shallow and brittle political life will probably disgorge politicians who will first and furiously, like Cronus, rush to sup on the homeland security institutions they birthed.
It is today a regrettable commonplace to deride TSA. This book proves, instead, that TSA is home for an army of frontline heroes who daily grapple with threats unseen and unknowable to the public. They have, for sure, often sketchy intelligence data, imperfect tools and sometimes ineffectual procedures. But Hawley makes exquisitely clear this fact: TSA is staffed with legions of people who nonetheless serve with intelligence, passion, commitment and patience.
Permanent Emergency is a real-life drama, with a whiff of John le Carré.