Germany Open to Speaking to Snowden

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Edward Snowden, left, met with German lawmaker Hans-Christian Ströbele in Moscow on Thursday as German officials called for the fugitive to assist probes of NSA activity.

Calls mounted Friday from senior German officials for the fugitive Edward Snowden to testify as part of investigations into National Security Agency spying programs in Germany—a move that could further strain ties between Berlin and the U.S.

Both the Interior Ministry, which is overseeing the government’s investigation, and Thomas Oppermann, head of the parliamentary committee overseeing the intelligence services, indicated they would like to hear from the former NSA contractor.

Government officials indicated that the legal and diplomatic challenges in getting Mr. Snowden to Germany would be high. Leaving Russia could jeopardize his refugee status there as well as his freedom—particularly if he were to travel to a country, such as Germany, that has an extradition treaty with the U.S.

Mr. Snowden could, however, interact with German authorities while in Russia, where he is living under temporary asylum.

“If Mr. Snowden is prepared to speak to German authorities, we will find opportunities for that meeting to take place,” Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich was quoted as saying by a Berlin newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel, on its website. Mr. Friedrich is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative coalition.

Mr. Oppermann, a Social Democrat, said on Twitter on Friday that he would like to hear Mr. Snowden as a witness, but only without risking his safety and “completely ruining” Germany’s relations with the U.S.

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