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Governing Security: The Hidden Origins of American Security Agencies, Mariano-Florentino Cueller

Reviewed by Sharon K Weiner



What is the relationship between security and the competing ideological and parochial interests of policymakers? Governing Security helps answer this question by investigating this complex web of relationships as embodied in the creation and evolution of agency design. In particular, Marianoā€Florentino Cueller juxtaposes the history of the Federal Security Agency (FSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to show how two different presi­dents, first Franklin Roosevelt and then George W. Bush, manipulated notions of security to expand their political control by reorganizing government agen­cies. The result is a detailed political history of both organizations that is informed by circumstance (the imperatives of crisis decision making) and competing interests (namely, those of the president and stakeholders in Con­gress), both of which are entangled in a fluid definition of security that is both manipulated for political goals but which also informs of the possibilities of agency action. As such, Governing Security makes important contributions to our understanding of agency design, the evolution of regulatory power, and especially the creation of FSA and DHS.

The book makes two overarching claims: it will use agency design and legal mandate to understand how national security is defin

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