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Green MP shares Snowden letter

November 1, 2013

German parliamentarian Ströbele has revealed more details of his visit with US whistle-blower Edward Snowden in Moscow. The politician spoke with Snowden about helping Germany probe alleged surveillance by the US NSA.

German Greens lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele points at the signature on a letter he received from fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, at a news conference in Berlin, November 1, 2013. Stroebele met Snowden in Moscow on Thursday, Stroebele's office said in a statement, and would give details of the meeting on Friday. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Image: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

Ströbele über sein Treffen mit Snowden

Hans-Christian Ströbele, speaking at a press conference in Berlin hours after returning from Moscow on Friday, gave a detailed account of his personal meeting with Edward Snowden. The Greens parliamentarian also released the contents of the letter that Snowden had written and given to Ströbele to pass on to the German government and the German parliament.

"In the course of my service to these organizations, I believe I witnessed systemic violations of law by my government that created a moral duty to act," the letter from Snowden read. The entire letter can be read here from tagesschau.de, the news website of Germany's ARD public broadcaster.

The US organizations he refers to are the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Ströbele told the press conference that his three-hour conversation with Snowdon in Moscow on Thursday had focused on whether conditions could be created for Snowden to testify to German prosecutors or before a committee of inquiry of the German parliament.

"[Snowden] could picture coming to Germany if it can be secured that he could stay in Germany or a comparable country and that he'd be safe there," Ströbele said.

The news agency Associated Press quoted a spokesman for German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich as saying Friday that Germany wanted "further information" from Snowden and would "gladly" accept it.

"We will find a way to make a conversation possible if Mr. Snowden is prepared to talk to German officials," Friedrich told the German newspaper Die Zeit.

Merkel presses US for answers

Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed President Barack Obama for answers to allegations that the US had eavesdropped on her mobile phone calls.

On Wednesday, her top foreign affairs and intelligence advisers flew to Washington to query US officials about the allegations.

A trip to Germany by Snowden to testify as a witness as part of a German investigation into the NSA spying affair would be problematic, as Snowden only has limited asylum in Russia.

He is wanted by Washington on espionage charges. His asylum is valid for one year from July in Russia, on the condition that he stopped leaking US intelligence information.

If he were to leave Russia for Germany, he would likely not be allowed to return as the US had previously requested his extradition from German authorities should he ever come to Germany.


Ströbele said sending a representative from Germany - such as a judge or an appointee of a parliamentary investigative committee - to Russia posed problems for Snowden.

"He has until now serious reservations, that I cannot and will not elaborate upon," Ströbele said.

The veteran Greens' parliamentarian is a member of the German parliament's committee for the oversight of Germany's intelligence agencies.

mz/tj, ipj (dpa, Reuters, AP)