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Latest twists on NSA scandal

November 7, 2013

US Foreign Secretary John Kerry is seeking to mend fences with Germany. Meanwhile whistleblower Edward Snowden's closest ally, WikiLeaks activist Sarah Harrison, is in Germany for fear of prosecution in the UK.

Former intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden and Sarah Harrison (L) of WikiLeaks speak to human rights representatives in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Human Rights Watch/Handout
Image: Reuters

Snowden's Aide in Berlin

WikiLeaks' Sarah Harrison arrived in Germany from Russia over the weekend. She said that she had been advised against traveling back to Britain because she could be prosecuted there under anti-terror laws.

Harrison had worked with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange until he sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. She then accompanied former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden first in Hong Kong and then to Russia after he had published information on the US intelligence agency's spying activities in Europe.

Harrison, who is refusing to give media interviews, was also present last week when German Green party lawmaker Christian Ströbele spoke to Snowden in Moscow.

Snowden's information has led to a string of revelations, including details of US spying activities in Germany and other European countries.

Ströbele had sought to encourage Snowden to testify before a parliamentary committee in Berlin that is investigating NSA activities in Germany. Documents leaked by Snowden showed that Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone had been tapped.

In an interview with the Germany daily mass-circulation tabloid Bild on Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that bilateral relations had worsened with the public outrage over NSA activities.

"There is no doubt this situation has led to tension in our relations with Germany and the Germans," Kerry said.

"We will work together with our German allies to reach an agreement on these issues," he said, stressing that good relations and a unified approach were necessary to move forward on establishing a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement as well as finding a solution for the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Snowden's revelations included information on spying activities being undertaken from the US and UK embassy premises in Berlin.

On Thursday afternoon the heads of Britain's three intelligence agencies MI5, MI6 and Government Communications Headquarters made an unprecedented appearance before lawmakers in London to discuss information leaked by the US analyst.

rg/mkg (dpa, AP)

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