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Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security

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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 battl 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.


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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 battl 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.

30 review for Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rob Slaven

    As usual, I received this book for nothing and this time via the infinite monthly grace of LibraryThing. Despite that kind consideration I'll give my candid opinions below. The summary of this novel is right in the subtitle. It goes into great detail to describe the people and processes that were put into place after the September 11th attacks to keep the country's air travelers from blowing things up. It is, in some ways, a response to the endless criticism that has been heaped upon this institu As usual, I received this book for nothing and this time via the infinite monthly grace of LibraryThing. Despite that kind consideration I'll give my candid opinions below. The summary of this novel is right in the subtitle. It goes into great detail to describe the people and processes that were put into place after the September 11th attacks to keep the country's air travelers from blowing things up. It is, in some ways, a response to the endless criticism that has been heaped upon this institution. On the positive side, the book is wonderfully balanced as it covers all aspects of the TSA's efforts from the personnel, technology and training that are used today to the attackers themselves and their individual motivations and actions. I've seldom seen such a broad treatment of a single topic. It's also worth noting that author himself was a key contributor but his spin on the situation is wonderfully matter-of-fact and never falters into self-congratulation. He just recounts the events in meticulous detail whether those events be positive, negative or indifferent to his own reputation. To the negative, the book is incredibly dense and will put some readers off significantly. This is a book best taken in small bites, say a chapter at a time and properly digested. Anyone attempting to read this in one sitting will likely be overwhelmed. In summary, this is a deeply complex and fact-filled book. If you've ever wondered at the administrative origins of seemingly random TSA rules like 3-ounce liquid containers or why you have to take your shoes off then this book will answer absolutely every question you might possibly have. It's depth and breadth of topic is unparalleled. That said, it's not a book to be swallowed all in one go on a long Sunday afternoon. Highly recommended to the curious and the patient.

  2. 4 out of 5

    wade

    If you want an inside look at the creation of our government's airport security systems as well as an overall look into how our government tried to stop terrorist attacks during the Bush administration then this is the book for you. Kip Hawley was one of the principle architects of our national security and his insights and decisions are both interesting and have had a profound effect on airport security as it exists even today, The book rambles a little from topic to topic but overall should b If you want an inside look at the creation of our government's airport security systems as well as an overall look into how our government tried to stop terrorist attacks during the Bush administration then this is the book for you. Kip Hawley was one of the principle architects of our national security and his insights and decisions are both interesting and have had a profound effect on airport security as it exists even today, The book rambles a little from topic to topic but overall should be a must read for anyone interested in America's fight against terrorism

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    Following 9/11 the TSA was hastily established to protect air travelers. The authors discuss the political process of establishing agency and giving it power. What many Americans would considered over reach and abuse by the agency are glossed over or painted as necessary security precautions. The book is worth reading to understand the mindset of the TSA.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Permanent Emergency: Inside that TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security is not a book to read for pleasure. Some of it was enlightening and some entertaining but on the whole it was had too much information for about the backgrounds of the people in TSA. Also, there seemed too much coverage of the details that weren't directly relevant. The birth of this agency does have an exciting story and the reason for the creation of this agency is very important. The role of the agency is f Permanent Emergency: Inside that TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security is not a book to read for pleasure. Some of it was enlightening and some entertaining but on the whole it was had too much information for about the backgrounds of the people in TSA. Also, there seemed too much coverage of the details that weren't directly relevant. The birth of this agency does have an exciting story and the reason for the creation of this agency is very important. The role of the agency is for preventing acts of terrorism in our transportation system. One thing that I learned is even though each crisis is different and requires a different response. I love biography but there was too much information about the author Kip Hawley and I felt that it dragged the story down some. That is the bad. This book could use some heavy editing. I had to force myself to read through the unneeded material to get to the nuggets. I finally decided on reading just fifty pages a night. If the editing had been down, this book would have been shorter but a much more memorable a book. I learned a lot about the scanner machines and the reason for the different regulations. The response to the Hurricane Katrina made entirely different plan than when information is received of terrorists will be attempting to fly to the capital. I was surprised that President George W. Bush wanted commandos at the airport after 911. The obvious problem with that is that it would have required a lot of expensive training. I was impressed with the amount of ongoing training involved for air marshals. I would recommend this book for people in the TSA or with avid interest in this agency. I received this book as a win from Library Thing but that in no way influenced my thoughts about this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    As consumers whose lives may have been inconvenienced by this organization, hating the TSA is a popular sentiment. This book, written by a former administrator of the TSA between the years 2005 and 2009 and who was instrumental in the birth of the TSA after 9/11 as a private sector expert, is great in showing us that other side, good and bad - the mistakes the TSA made in its haphazard inception, the way the TSA attempted to resolve these issues in the midst of public criticism, the creation of As consumers whose lives may have been inconvenienced by this organization, hating the TSA is a popular sentiment. This book, written by a former administrator of the TSA between the years 2005 and 2009 and who was instrumental in the birth of the TSA after 9/11 as a private sector expert, is great in showing us that other side, good and bad - the mistakes the TSA made in its haphazard inception, the way the TSA attempted to resolve these issues in the midst of public criticism, the creation of new security guidelines that require much more than just retraining of employees but large events such as airport redesign, the plots of various people who wanted to bring more tragedy to the US in the wake of 9/11. This book, written in more of a colloquial manner, tells a story that is compelling and riveting. It serves as a great balance to our biased opinion of security we see and experience at airports by giving us 'backstage' insight on purpose and reminding us why they are there.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    This book is basically a look back at the establishment of the TSA and the threats it has stopped from the point of view of one of the former heads of the organization. He explains a lot of the technical evolution of TSA airport checks and also things the TSA does that you don't necessarily think of (like security for RNC/DNC conventions or hurricane response). Also outlines some terror plots and some of the bureaucratic hoopla in trying to get affordable and reliable equipment for airport scree This book is basically a look back at the establishment of the TSA and the threats it has stopped from the point of view of one of the former heads of the organization. He explains a lot of the technical evolution of TSA airport checks and also things the TSA does that you don't necessarily think of (like security for RNC/DNC conventions or hurricane response). Also outlines some terror plots and some of the bureaucratic hoopla in trying to get affordable and reliable equipment for airport screening. Parts of it read fast, parts of it read slow, parts were confusing. Luckily he includes a glossary and timeline in the back for reference. It may be a little thing, but the punctuation in this book left something to be desired. Periods where there should have been commas, and no periods at the ends of some sentences.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Rigsby

    This is book recounts the story of the founding of the TSA and Kip Hawley's tenure as its leader. At points it reads dramatically like an international spy thriller, at others it's closer to a stuffy memoir or a treatise on organizational theories. On the whole I enjoyed the book because of the tid bits it provided about the behind-the-curtain aspects of the organization, intelligence, and airline security as a whole. Sometimes I was a little suspicious of Kip's perspective as the narrator of th This is book recounts the story of the founding of the TSA and Kip Hawley's tenure as its leader. At points it reads dramatically like an international spy thriller, at others it's closer to a stuffy memoir or a treatise on organizational theories. On the whole I enjoyed the book because of the tid bits it provided about the behind-the-curtain aspects of the organization, intelligence, and airline security as a whole. Sometimes I was a little suspicious of Kip's perspective as the narrator of the events and would have appreciated an impartial third party's perspective, but not overwhelmingly so. Overall it was an interesting study of the founding of one of America's most vital-yet-reviled government agencies. http://joshuarigsby.com

  8. 4 out of 5

    Edcon1

    The TSA( Transportation Safety Administration) was born out of the rubble of September 11 2001. The United States desperately needed confidence restored to its transportation system and it had to be done urgently. Kip Hawley details his time with the agency from the pressure of creating a huge agency with an enormous mandate to his time as the director and all the challenges that came along with it. The good, the bad, Kip provides an honest assesment of what went right and wrong with the TSA For an The TSA( Transportation Safety Administration) was born out of the rubble of September 11 2001. The United States desperately needed confidence restored to its transportation system and it had to be done urgently. Kip Hawley details his time with the agency from the pressure of creating a huge agency with an enormous mandate to his time as the director and all the challenges that came along with it. The good, the bad, Kip provides an honest assesment of what went right and wrong with the TSA For anyone wanting to understand the dynamics of responding to national threats this is an excellent read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Garth

    I'd only recommend this to people who are interested in airports/airport security. Maybe that's a no-brainer. What I'm trying to say is that this isn't a Krakauer or Michael Lewis book, one of those non-fiction books so well-written you can get into it even if you weren't originally interested in the subject matter. But if you want to learn more about airport security, this is a good read. The author was head of the TSA from 2005 to 2009. Here's an editorial by him, to give you an idea of his wr I'd only recommend this to people who are interested in airports/airport security. Maybe that's a no-brainer. What I'm trying to say is that this isn't a Krakauer or Michael Lewis book, one of those non-fiction books so well-written you can get into it even if you weren't originally interested in the subject matter. But if you want to learn more about airport security, this is a good read. The author was head of the TSA from 2005 to 2009. Here's an editorial by him, to give you an idea of his writing style: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    An interesting memoir of time spent as the head of TSA. The book provides a solid perspective on the difference between risk avoidance and risk management. If you fly in, into, or out of the U.S. it provides insight into why we have the seemingly arbitrary checkpoint rules that are in place provided by the guy who made some of those rules.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Art

    A account of the establishment of the TSA and the events and problems around it and the issues it faced. It was nice to looks a news events as i remember them and then see the TSA side of them. The book is easy to read with a decent amount of detail but is not overwhelming.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Billie

    This book was received feee of charge from the publisher through the Goodreads First Reader program A really interesting book on how the TSA is struggling in the current environment of hightened expectations, and reduiced budgets Very intrigueing book Good read

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stevie

    hmm... still deciding

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Interesting insights into TSA and terrorism. Proofreading leaves a lot to be desired!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Just starting to read this book which I won on Goodreads. It is not a book I would have purchased but I find it luring me in. More to follow.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Interesting behind the scenes look a the TSA in earlier times, I am unsure about how well the presentation reflects other perceptions of those times. Interesting, but not compelling.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

  20. 4 out of 5

    Blazej

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mark Fancher

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ben Smith

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kim Meck

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Charles Russo

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

  28. 5 out of 5

    Viktoria

  29. 5 out of 5

    Barteverett

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cannatti

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