In "Skating on Stilts," Stewart Baker warns that the exponential growth in airplane travel, information technology and bio-technologies has been empowering new, increasingly lethal forms of terrorism against America. This was first demonstrated by al Qaeda's success on Sept. 11 when it exploited gaps in our air travel system to hijack four aircraft simultaneously and launch its catastrophic attacks.
In an important book that deserves wide recognition, Mr. Baker sounds the alarm that in the future, we will fail to defeat such lethal threats, which are escalating, unless we succeed in overcoming resistance to government policy changes in regulating them. Such resistance is being mounted by business, foreign governments and privacy groups that favor something of a lassez-faire approach to national defense matters.
Drawing on Mr. Baker's expertise as the Department of Homeland Security's first assistant secretary for policy (2005-09), as the National Security Agency's top lawyer in the 1990s and in his current practice at one of Washington's top law firms, this book, an insider's memoir, describes his efforts while in government service to tackle these threats.