Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University


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Governing Security: The Hidden Origins of American Security Agencies


Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar - The Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford Law School; Co-Director of CISAC; FSI Senior Fellow; CDDRL Affiliated Faculty;FSE Affiliated Faculty

Published by
Stanford University Press, page(s): 328
November 2012

Description from Stanford University Press:

The impact of public law depends on how politicians secure control of public organizations, and how these organizations in turn are used to define national security. Governing Security explores this dynamic by investigating the surprising history of two major federal agencies that touch the lives of Americans every day: the Roosevelt-era Federal Security Agency (which became today's Department of Health and Human Services) and the more recently created Department of Homeland Security.

Through the stories of both organizations, Cuéllar offers a compelling account of crucial developments affecting the basic architecture of our nation. He shows how Americans end up choosing security goals not through an elaborate technical process, but in lively and overlapping settings involving conflict over agency autonomy, presidential power, and priorities for domestic and international risk regulation. Ultimately, as Cuéllar shows, the ongoing fights about the scope of national security reshape the very structure of government, particularly during—or in anticipation of—a national crisis.