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Prof. Russell Miller in German Magazine Der Spiegel

Prof. Russell Miller

Prof. Russell Miller

Last month, we reported on Washington and Lee law professor Russell Miller and his KoRSE Fellowship at the University of Freiburg, where he is  researching and collaborating with leading scholars on the issues of security and liberty who are based at the University of Freiburg’s Center for Civil Security as well as the program’s partners at Bucerius Law School (Hamburg), the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (Freiburg), and the German Federal Police Academy.

On July 10, Prof. Miller delivered a lecture at the University that was very well received and led to a full-page interview in Germany’s leading weekly news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’. The text of the interview is available online to those with a paid subscription. The lecture and interview are based on Prof. Miller’s 2008 book U.S. National Security, Intelligence and Democracy (Routledge Press).  The book reflected on the 1970s Senate Select Committee that undertook an extensive investigation of U.S. national security activities.  Known as the ”Church Committee” (for its Chair, Idaho Senator Frank Church), the Senate Select Committee’s reports remain one of the most detailed accountings of the American intelligence community and the reports served as the basis for reforms that now make-up the legal and oversight framework for American intelligence programs.  An excerpt of Prof. Miller’s lecture, which appears as a Blog-post at the Verfassungsblog, is below:

…the intensely contemporary nature of my topic gives me pause for at least two reasons.

First, I am very well aware that news of American surveillance and espionage has stirred alarm and resentment throughout German society, sending shock waves all the way to the Kanzleramt. Personal and political relations between our countries are once again strained. With this in mind, I hope you will understand if I offer the following caveat for today’s lecture. As a simple law professor I am not in a position to speak for or defend the Obama Administration’s policies. I do have some personal and professional insight into the thinking of the President’s team, which I am happy to share with you, for whatever it is worth. And, as an American voter, I assure you that I take my democratic responsibility for the actions of my government very seriously. But these might be the limits of my ability to respond directly to and account for the developments of the last month.

Second, as a simple law professor, I must admit to having some anxiety about speaking today on a topic that can be described as “dramatic and fast-moving.” In many ways, these are the antinomies of good scholarship, which might be more properly described as “plodding and tedious.” There is a reason, I suppose, why professors play such an unimportant role in the canon of American action films. This concern requires me to offer yet another caveat for today’s lecture. I don’t intend to try to paint a full picture of the still-unfolding, frenetic developments of the last weeks. For now that is a task better left to the media, particularly the excellent journalists on both sides of the Atlantic who are doing important work in covering the story.

Prof. Miller will again address this topic at an invited lectured before the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe on July 18, hosted by the German Judicial Press Conference.

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