• Germany's news in English

Germans want to interrogate Snowden

The Local · 28 Oct 2013, 14:59

Published: 28 Oct 2013 14:59 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

As the Merkel phone gate affair continued to rock US-German relations, the two main parties agreed the spying accusations would be debated in a special sitting of parliament.

The debate, set for November 18th, will address the NSA's activities on German soil and the tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

Meanwhile, voices grew louder calling for an official parliamentary investigative committee to look into the spying accusations.

Some are even demanding Edward Snowden be coaxed out of hiding in Russia, where he has been granted asylum, to travel to Germany to act as the committee's star witness.

The fugitive whistleblower is a "highly credible" and "obviously valuable witness," for Germany, said Thomas Oppermann, (SPD) head of the parliamentary control committee - the body responsible for oversight of intelligence services.

And if Snowden were to abandon his hideout in Russia, added Oppermann, he could not see Germany handing him over to the USA to face trial.

Germany was unlikely, he said, to deliver "someone who had uncovered a serious act of spying against the Chancellor" over to the very country "which did this spying."

Germany should offer Snowden asylum, a growing number of politicians agree, including several from the SPD.

"The service Edward Snowden has done for the disclosure of the NSA spying methods are undeniable. Germany should, together with other European states, seriously look into whether it is possible to take Snowden in," Lars Klingbeil, SPD internet policy spokesman told Handelsblatt over the weekend.

The German government has so far denied it is seeking dialogue with Snowden, who's whereabouts in Russia are currently unknown, said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday.

However, outgoing Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) has not ruled out calling on Snowden for further information in any investigation by Germany.

"If the accusations consolidate and lead to investigation, one could consider interviewing Mr Snowden as a witness," she told Zeit Online.

Meanwhile, the German Federal Public Prosecutor Harald Range has begun looking into whether the US broke the law by tapping Merkel's phone. There was not yet enough information to launch an official judicial enquiry into the spying claims, Range said.

However, he admitted it would be difficult to get Snowden into Germany.

Story continues below…

"I can't just travel to Moscow and sit in the airport and wait until Mr Snowden shows up," he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday. "We just have to gather information, and that's what we're doing."

READ MORE: White House 'ended NSA Merkel phone tapping'

DPA/The Local/jlb

Follow us on Twitter @thelocalgermany

Like The Local Germany on Facebook

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd