National Security and Double Government

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National Security and Double Government
NSADG book cover.jpg
Author Michael J. Glennon
Country United States
Language English
Subject National security, Government of the United States
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication date
October, 2014
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 257
ISBN 978-0-19-020644-4
OCLC 78812792

National Security and Double Government is a 2014 book by Michael J. Glennon, professor of international law at Tufts University.[1]


Glennon worked closely with insiders in American politics in the 1970s and 1980s. As a law student, he worked as a staff assistant for congressman Donald M. Fraser (D-MN). After law school, he was assistant counsel for the Office of the Legislative Counsel at the United States Senate, and later, counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and consultant to the State Department. He is currently professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.[2]

Development of National Security and Double Government began in the 2000s when Glennon noticed an unchanging continuity in national security policy in United States government, particularly from the previous presidency of George W. Bush to the presidency of Barack Obama.[note 1][2][4] He published an article on the subject in the Harvard National Security Journal titled "National Security and Double Government" in 2014, which later evolved into book form.[5][6]


Glennon draws from the theories of British writer Walter Bagehot (1826–1877), who discussed the structure of British government in his book The English Constitution (1867). He argues that Bagehot's thesis of a "double government" in nineteenth century Britain also applies to the U.S. today. Glennon posits that there are two institutions in control: the "Madisonian" public institutions of the congress, presidency and the courts, which maintain the necessary public illusion that they are in charge and in control of policy, while a secretive "Trumanite" network of unelected, unaccountable national security bureaucrats actually make and set policy that the Madisonians appear to implement as their own. Glennon warns that control by the Trumanite network weakens constitutional restraints upon government, such as checks and balances and oversight, and results in less democracy, and a greater risk of despotism.[2]


  1. ^ Michael J. Glennon: "I had noticed for years that U.S. national security changed little from one administration to the next, but the continuity was so striking mid-way into the Obama administration that I thought it was time to address the question directly. Hence the book."[3]


  1. ^ "Book Note". The George Washington International Law Review, 47 (2): 447-448 . April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Jordan Michael (October 19, 2014). "Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change." The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Jackson, Tom (December 2, 2014). "Michael Glennon on who REALLY runs the government." Sandusky Register. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  4. ^ Horton, Scott (October 22, 2014). "Michael Glennon." The Scott Horton Show.
  5. ^ Glennon 2015, p. ix.
  6. ^ Mertz, Chuck (March 22, 2014). "Law scholar Michael J. Glennon reveals the second government behind American surveillance." This is Hell. WNUR-FM. Retrieved August 20, 2015.

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