Former TSA official says current system is broken

A former official with the Transportation Security Administration told ABC News Wednesday that passengers should be able to take knives aboard planes.

"Carry a big knife, carry five knives," said Kip Hawley, former TSA administrator. "The focus shoul be explosives and toxins, things that can kill a lot of people very fast."

Hawley's book, "Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security," which he co-wrote with Nathan Means, was released Tuesday.

Hawley, who helped build TSA and ran the organization from 2005 to 2009, said the system is broken and that TSA should stop looking for weapons that cannot penetrate the fortified cockpit door.

As TSA administrator, Hawley reviewed a dozen active terrorist threats per day. He said the most effective way to thwart terrorists is to have more TSA officers roam the airport and ask questions while streamlining frustrating checkpoints that alienate passengers.

"We cannot protect every passenger on every plane, train and automobile. We have so jammed up the system with rules, and the public is just fed up," Hawley told ABC News.

Hawley also said the TSA is sitting on important technology that screens liquids for explosives and could allow passengers to carry everything from water to shampoo through security and on board. All that would be needed, he said, would be a separate liquid line that may move slower than the rest.

Hawley said he still believes passengers should have to take off their shoes so they can be scanned through TSA's X-ray equipment.