Deputy Director for Policy Andrew Miller Quoted in Huffington Post

On December 17, 2017, POMED’s Deputy Director for Policy Andrew Miller spoke with Akbar Shahid Ahmed of the Huffington Post about Americans imprisoned in Egypt for an article entitled, “Families of Americans Imprisoned in Egypt Pin Their Hopes on…Mike Pence?

“It needs to be in many ways an all-of-government approach,” said Andrew Miller, who worked on Egypt at the National Security Council from 2014 to January 2017 and at the State Department until November. “There’s a tendency within the Egyptian government to discount concerns from a single agency. When they begin to hear it from everyone ― from the White House, from the State Department, even the Department of Defense and CIA in certain cases ―  then they begin to understand that it is more of a concern.”

Multiple meetings with Hijazi’s advocates and statements about her imprisonment enabled the Obama administration to secure an Egyptian commitment to fast-track her case in its last few months, he said.

Miller, now the deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy, said he knows the NSC is aware of the cases of Kassem, Etiwy and the other Americans, which he said the agency began to learn about last year. He is unsure if the information has been passed to Trump ― in part because these citizens’ stories have not been widely publicized. That affects the responses of every part of the American government, from the White House to the Cairo Embassy, which he said did not share information about the cases of Kassem, Etiwy and others with the NSC until it was asked to.

“To get the entire U.S. government to do something, it helps when there is a public furor,” Miller said. “The Trump administration has prioritized private engagement in trying to resolve these cases, but based on my experience there needs to be both public and private diplomacy. The public remarks in which the U.S. government expresses concern are a necessary precondition. It serves as a signal of how much we care about the status of those individuals. It also helps to create a sense within Egypt that this is a real problem, that it’s going to have the potential to make relationships scratchier.” 

Read the full article here.