Whistleblower Snowden may testify against the NSA in Germany

Whistleblower Snowden may testify against the NSA in Germany

Summary: The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden may stand as a witness against the US intelligence service in a German parliamentary investigation into mass surveillance by the agency.

TOPICS: Security, Government, EU

The whistleblower Edward Snowden may testify against the US National Security Agency in a German parliamentary investigation.

The revelation was made by German politician Hans-Christian Ströbele, who met with Snowden on Thursday to discuss his involvement in any future investigation by the Bundestag.

Ströbele, Green party candidate for Berlin's Kreuzberg district, said that Snowden was prepared in principle to assist a parliamentary inquiry, according to Bloomberg.

The German politician returned from the meeting with a letter from Snowden addressed to German chancellor Angela Merkel, which will be read out in public this afternoon.

Ströbele warned Snowden would likely face legal complications if he were to travel to Germany from Russia, where he has been granted asylum after leaking documents on mass surveillance by the NSA.

If Snowden were to travel to Berlin, he would be able to apply for asylum in Germany. In June his application for asylum in the country was rejected because he was required to apply in person inside Germany.

Snowden could be granted a residence permit in Germany under paragraph 22 of German residence law, which allows a permit to be granted "if the interior ministry declares it to be in Germany's political interest".

German lawmakers have been calling for a parliamentary investigation into the NSA's surveillance activities following revelations last week that the agency may have tapped Chancellor Merkel's mobile phone.

The Guardian reports that a range of German politicians are supporting calls for Snowden to stand as a witness should an investigation be held.

Edward Snowden, left, with German politician Hans-Christian Ströbele. Image: www.stroebele-online.de/

Further reading

Topics: Security, Government, EU


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • this traitor

    should be allowed to testify only in a US military court, not some weasel European country!
    LlNUX Geek
    • The NSA is out of control

      Keep the pressure up on exposing the NSA for it's unchecked authoritative powers. No Federal agency should have this kind of power with no way to challenge it. Overturn the "patriot act" too.
    • Assuming Snowden is ever brought to trial...

      ...it would almost certainly be in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. There's actually Supreme Court precedent dating back to the Civil War (Ex Parte Milligan) which says that civilians can't be tried in military court if the civilian courts are capable of functioning.
      John L. Ries
  • I don't think he'll be testifying in person

    I don't know if the Bundestag's rules allow testimony to be given remotely, but if I were Mr. Snowden, I'd stay in Russia, unless there was some guarantee that I wouldn't be extradited back to the US as soon as I was done in Berlin. Chancellor Merkel might be annoyed at the NSA at the moment, but Germany is still a US ally.

    Then again, I seem to recall that Snowden only has temporary asylum in Russia.
    John L. Ries