Privacy protection has its place but putting too much emphasis on it can stop counterterrorism forces in their tracks.
At least, that's a central idea explored time and again in a new book from Stewart Baker, the former assistant secretary of policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The book--Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren't Stopping Tomorrow's Terrorism--largely deals with Baker's firsthand experiences with major developments in various elements of homeland security, ranging from cybersecurity to bioterrorism to aviation security.
Yet the book tells its tales as a means of looking forward. Baker, an infatigable intellectual, often appears to be an endless source of methodical musings on the challenges of DHS and counterterrorism measures generally in person. His book captures his ability to be proactively prescriptive while reflecting on policy debates old and new.
Despite the serious nature of the subject matter, however, Baker enhances his reputation as a raconteur by enjoying himself. He is well served by his ability personalize the obstacles that continue to daunt homeland security efforts, making them seem relevant to the reader. This makes the book so easy to read that you may find yourself revisiting past chapters of policy battles fought and pondering their relevance to homeland security today, much like the author himself.