Document Type

Honors Project


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The NSA’s electronic surveillance program unsettled many Americans as an abuse of government power. In my research I reconcile this program with traditional American civil-military relations and conceptions of national security. I apply these theories to the Cold War and War on Terror, exploring how in both cases the US built a national security state using legislation, bureaucracy, and legitimizing rhetoric to respond to the Soviet and terrorist threats. I find that 9/11 expanded the American conception of national security, which precipitated the NSA surveillance program. Without significant public and Congressional pushback, the current national security state is likely to be permanent.

Advisor: Dr. Andrew Latham, Political Science



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