German lawmaker says he met Snowden in Russia

AP News
Posted: Oct 31, 2013 4:23 PM

BERLIN (AP) — A German lawmaker said he met Edward Snowden in Moscow on Thursday, and that the National Security Agency leaker is prepared in principle to help Germany investigate allegations of surveillance by U.S. intelligence.

Hans-Christian Stroebele, a lawmaker with Germany's opposition Greens who is a prominent critic of the NSA's alleged actions, posted on Twitter a picture of himself with Snowden. He said on his website that Snowden gave him a letter to German authorities which he will present in Berlin on Friday.

Stroebele told ARD television that Snowden "made clear he knows a great deal." He said Snowden would be prepared to travel to Germany and testify, "but the circumstances would have to be cleared up."

Germany is seeking answers from U.S. authorities to allegations Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone was monitored, which prompted Merkel to complain to Obama last week. Merkel's foreign policy adviser and intelligence coordinator held talks on the issue in Washington on Wednesday.

Germany's government was one of many that rejected an asylum request from Snowden earlier this year. Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert, when asked earlier this week whether Berlin should seek testimony from Snowden, said "the question doesn't arise for the government now."

Federal prosecutors are looking into whether they might have grounds for investigating the allegations regarding Merkel's cellphone, but that can be a lengthy process and it's unclear when they might make any decision. Germany's parliament is expected to discuss the NSA's alleged activities Nov. 18 and lawmakers may decide to set up a commission of inquiry.

Snowden was granted asylum in Russia in August after being stuck at a Moscow airport for more than a month following his arrival there from Hong Kong. The 30-year-old faces espionage charges in the U.S.