Snowden ready to help German probe into US spying

Updated: 2013-11-02 09:46


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BERLIN - US whistleblower Edward Snowden is willing to help the German government in its probe into US spying in Germany that included alleged monitoring of mobile phone communications of Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a letter released Friday by a German lawmaker.

Snowden said in the letter, published by the opposition Green party lawmaker Christian Stroebele who met the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor on Thursday in Moscow, which he was prepared to provide details of US spying to Germany.

"I look forward to speaking with you in your country when the situation is resolved, and thank you for your efforts to uphold international law that protect us all," Snowden said in the letter addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German parliament and German federal prosecutors.

Snowden said the US government continues to "treat dissent as defection" and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense, adding that he was confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will "abandon this harmful behavior".

Lawmaker Stroebele said Friday on his return from Moscow that Snowden was ready to testify to the US Congress.

"He said first up he would prefer to lay the facts on the table in front of the US Congress," Stroebele said.

Stroebele has said that the whistleblower is willing in principle to help shed light on the spying, adding that Snowden was prepared to travel to Germany to testify or to testify in Russia.

However, Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russian media on Friday that it is impossible for Snowden to leave Russia to be questioned by German prosecutors but can provide testimony inside Russia.

Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after exposing massive surveillance by the US Intelligence service. Germany has ruled out granting Edward Snowden asylum.

Also on Friday, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said the government is willing to talk with Snowden on US spying if he is willing to help shed light on the spying scandal.

The German government has voiced its anger at possible US intelligence's tapping of Merkel's phone, saying it would be "a serious breach of trust" if confirmed.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told local media earlier this week that the German Federal Prosecutor's Office will have to consider the possibility of interrogating Snowden as a witness if suspicions on the spying prove correct and a case is opened.

Snowden, the former US intelligence contractor, provided classified documents with evidence of the alleged spying scandal.