Whistleblower Edward Snowden said he is ready to testify in German investigations into alleged U.S. wiretapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s telephone, but cannot leave Russia because of U.S. “persecution”.
He has agreed “in principle” to go to Germany to help probe the phone tapping charges, said German opposition legislator Hans-Christian Stroebele after meeting the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor in a secret location in Moscow on Thursday.
“He has made it clear he knows a lot,” Mr. Stroebele told German public television ARD. He showed reporters a letter Mr. Snowden had addressed to the German government and the Federal Public Prosecutor.
In the letter, Mr. Snowden said he was willing to “cooperate in responsible finding of fact” regarding his disclosures, but admitted he cannot travel out of Russia because of “a severe and sustained campaign of persecution” by the U.S.
“I look forward to speaking with you in your country when the situation is resolved,” he wrote.
His Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, confirmed on Friday that his client would lose his Russian asylum if he leaves the country, but said he could testify from Russia.
“If a country has some questions to Edward it can send them here and he will decide what he can do with them,” Mr. Kucherena told state news agency Itar-Tass on Friday.
Mr. Snowden’s testimony could be a violation of Moscow’s terms for giving him shelter. “If he wants to stay here, he has to meet one condition: stop his activities aimed at harming our American partners,” President Vladimir Putin had said before granting him temporary asylum.
However, the Kremlin appears willing to bend its rules for a chance to deepen a row between two NATO allies.