U.S. Still Dangerously Unprepared for Catastrophic Terrorist Attack, Warns Council Fellow Stephen Flynn in New Book, America the Vulnerable

July 20, 2004 4:17 pm (EST)

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Nearly three years have passed since September 11, and despite new security measures, the United States is still dangerously unprepared to prevent or respond to another catastrophic attack on American soil. Faced with this threat, the United States should be operating on a wartime footing here at home. Instead, “we are living on borrowed time—and squandering it—while our most serious vulnerabilities lie ominously exposed,” says author and Council Senior Fellow Stephen E. Flynn.

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America the Vulnerable: How Our Government Is Failing to Protect Us from Terrorism offers a startling portrait of the pronounced shortcomings in America’s current plan for homeland security. In this powerful and urgently needed call to action, Flynn describes a frightening scenario of what the next major terrorist attack might look like, revealing the loss of life and the immense economic havoc it would leave in its wake, as well as the seismic political consequences it would have in Washington and throughout the country.

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Despite increased awareness, Flynn explains, we still offer our enemies a vast menu of soft targets: water and food supplies; chemical plants, energy grids and pipelines; bridges, tunnels, and ports; and the millions of cargo containers that carry most of the goods Americans depend upon in their everyday lives. The measures cobbled together to protect these vital systems are hardly fit to deter amateur thieves, vandals, and smugglers, never mind determined terrorists. Worse still, small improvements are often oversold as giant steps forward, lowering the guard of the average citizen and building an unwarranted sense of confidence.

It does not have to be this way. Flynn carefully outlines a bold yet practical plan for achieving security in a way that is safe, smart, effective, and manageable. In a new world of heightened risk and fear, America the Vulnerable delivers a timely, forceful message that cannot—and should not—be ignored.

“If officials in Washington would read just one book, this is it. Stephen Flynn describes how utterly unprepared we are for the next terrorist attack. More important, he explains that our vulnerabilities are not inevitable consequences of being an open society. Flynn outlines a series of practical measures that, if implemented, would make us much, much safer.

It is a scary book, and it should scare us into action.”
Fareed Zakaria, editor, Newsweek International; author, The Future of Freedom

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America the Vulnerable will grip you, intrigue you, frighten you and inspire you. Steve Flynn is a genuine expert on the terrorist threats facing America, a gifted writer who can make complex subjects understandable and readable, and a patriot who wants his country to wake up to our continuing, even expanded, vulnerability to devastating terrorist attacks. Read this book, tell your friends and family to read it, and most of all, tell your elected representatives and local, state, and federal officials to read it—now.”
Norman Ornstein, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute

“This book had to be written and Commander Steve Flynn is uniquely equipped to write it. Because they are so plausible, his threat scenarios are chillingly persuasive. Because his talent and training are so focused, his urgent prescriptions are compelling. There is a Providence that protects small children and the United States, Bismarck once said. We must pray that Providence will continue to protect us for, as Steve Flynn amply warns, we are not protecting ourselves.”
Gary Hart, former U.S. Senator; co-chair, the United States Commission on National Security for the 21st Century

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America the Vulnerable is a stunningly detailed account of the threat of terrorism to the American people. As one who has been involved with this subject for a number of years, I can honestly say that I have never seen such a starkly realistic and accurate account of the threat of terrorism to our very way of life. This book is unsettling but necessary reading for all Americans who are deeply concerned about the future security of our nation.”
Warren Rudman, former U.S. Senator; co-chair, the United States Commission on
National Security for the 21st Century

America the Vulnerable combines a hair raising indictment of what hasn’t been done to defend the U.S. against terrorism with a deftly reasoned agenda for how to fix the problem. A critical read for both our political leaders and every American citizen.”
Jeffrey E. Garten, Dean, Yale School of Management

Contact: Lisa Shields, Council Communications, 212-434-9888 or [email protected]

Stephen Flynn is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as the lead author of the task force report, “America: Still Unprepared, Still in Danger,” co-chaired by former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, and his articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs. He spent twenty years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, served in the White House Military Office during the George H.W. Bush administration, and as director for Global Issues on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration.


A Council on Foreign Relations Book / Published by HarperCollins
ISBN: 0060571284; On Sale: 07/20/2004; Format: Hardcover; Pages: 256; $25.95; $39.95(CAN)



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