Glass Houses

Glass Houses

Privacy, Secrecy, and Cyber Insecurity in a Transparent World

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143122111
  • 320 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


A chilling and revelatory appraisal of the new faces of espionage and warfare on the digital battleground

Shortly after 9/11, Joel Brenner entered the inner sanctum of American espionage, first as the inspector general of the National Security Agency, then as the head of counterintelligence for the director of National Intelligence. He saw at close range the battleground on which adversaries are attacking us: cyberspace.

Like the rest of us, governments and corporations inhabit “glass houses,” all but transparent to a new generation of spies who operate remotely from such places as China, the Middle East, Russia, and even France. In this urgent wake-up call, Brenner draws on his extraordinary background to show what we can—and cannot—do to prevent cyber spies and hackers from compromising our security and stealing our latest technology.


“A compelling, readable narrative…[America the Vulnerable] should be required reading on Capitol Hill and in the West Wing." — Christian Science Monitor

“A public service announcement of the most urgent sort, this engrossing book reveals how our lack of cyber savvy, both as individuals and as a nation, is exposing us to extraordinary risks…thought-provoking reading from an expert witness.” — Discover

“If you have a responsibility for protecting intellectual property, trade secrets and other instruments of successful business; if you are responsible for protecting national information and technology interests then you have a responsibility to read this book. Bring a change of underwear.” — Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google

“Cybercrime, espionage, and warfare are among the great challenges of this century, but as Joel Brenner argues, we are woefully ill-prepared to meet them. Drawing on history, law, economics, common sense, and his rare experience in counterintelligence, Brenner deftly describes the problems and offers a series of very practical solutions. This book is both well written and convincing.” — Joseph Nye, author of Soft Power and The Future of Power

America the Vulnerable offers an expert’s keen insight into the netherworld of cyberrisk.  Rich in facts, stories, and analysis, the book is a clarion call for more effective cyberpolicies and practices in both the government and private sector. America should take heed.” — Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, author of The Art of Intelligence

“Brenner takes us inside the daily battle in the world of cyber espionage, where China and others are stealing American corporations’ ‘secret sauce.’ He shows us the on-going cyber war that the US is losing.” — Richard Clarke, author of Cyber War and Against All Enemies

 “Joel Brenner is a quiet hero—a lawyer who, after 9/11, forsook a prosperous life to serve the United States on a different kind of front line: the world of intelligence. He has written a book about cyberspace, that will inform his fellow citizens—and should trouble them deeply. Any reader, casually familiar with the hacking and computer mischief that one reads about daily, will nonetheless be appalled at what he learns here about the scope of cyberespionage, crime, and malicious action that has already been directed against private citizens, corporations, and the government.  A lucid, scary, and very important book.” — Eliot Cohen, author of Supreme Command and Conquered into Liberty