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NSA spying: Snowden offers help to Germany

Berlin, Nov 1, 2013 (PTI): 14:55 IST
Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has offered to help Germany probe the agency's alleged spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel and other surveillance operations, according to a top opposition politician who held a secret meeting with him in Russia.

Hans-Christian Stroebele, the Green party's member of the parliamentary control committee on intelligence services, said after a three-hour meeting with Snowden yesterday that the former CIA contractor is "prepared in principle" to testify before a parliamentary inquiry committee or to answer questions from prosecutors if he gets an assurance that he will not be extradited to the US.

Stroebele said their talks centred on under what conditions Snowden could visit Germany.

Snowden who revealed details of the extensive US operation to access and monitor global communications, fled to Moscow via Hong Kong at the end of May. He was granted a temporary asylum by the Russian authorities in June, after spending around a month at the Moscow airport.

The US wants him extradited to face trial on criminal charges.

Snowden handed over a letter to Stroebele, addressed to Chancellor Merkel requesting her not to extradite him to US.

"While the NSA blocks all attempts to clarify the allegations, he is prepared to visit Germany and to testify, but the conditions for that will have to be created," Stroebele said in a TV interview.

The Green and the Left party, which build the opposition bloc in the newly-elected Bundestag, have been demanding the setting up of parliamentary inquiry committee in the wake of new allegations that the NSA monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone for more than a decade and the agency may have also spied on the government from the American Embassy.

So far there has been no agreement among the main parties on constituting an inquiry committee.

While Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) opposed it, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) indicated that it may join the initiative of the opposition.

The CDU and the SPD are in the process of forming a new "grand coalition" after the parliamentary election on September 22.

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