Germany may summon Edward Snowden as witness in Merkel phone tapping case
The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office may summon former CIA employee Edward Snowden to be a witness in the case of phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told the Deutschlandfunk radio on Sunday.
“If our suspicions prove correct and a case is opened, the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office will have to consider the possibility of interrogating Snowden as a witness,” she said, adding that there would be no major obstacles to that effect.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) denied German press reports on Sunday that President Barack Obama was personally informed in 2010 of US phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which may have begun as early as 2002. Bild am Sonntag newspaper quoted US intelligence sources as saying that NSA chief Keith Alexander had briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel.
General Keith Alexander “did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel,” NSA spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines said.
German media said the phone tapping may have begun as early as 2002, further stoking global outrage over revelations of the NSA’s broad snooping into the communications of several dozen world leaders and ordinary citizens.
News weekly Der Spiegel reported that leaked NSA documents showed that Merkel’s phone had appeared on a list of spying targets since 2002, and was still under surveillance shortly before Obama visited Berlin in June.
German spy chiefs will travel to the United States next week to demand answers following allegations that US intelligence has been tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, as a row over US snooping threatened to hurt transatlantic ties.
Documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden showing sweeping US surveillance on ordinary citizens’ Internet searches and telephone records have already sparked outrage worldwide.
The effort in UN by Brazil and Germany to restrain NSA was supported by 19 more countries. for example by Venezuela, Cuba and such traditional US allies as France and Mexico. Close American allies like France and Mexico – as well as rivals like Cuba and Venezuela – are all part of the talks. Other participating countries are Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Paraguay, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and Uruguay.
The Foreign policy obtained a copy of the draft. It calls on states “to respect and ensure the respect for the rights” to privacy, including the privacy on the Internet, as enshrined in the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including It also calls on states “to take measures to put an end to violations of these rights” and to “review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the extraterritorial surveillance of private communications and interception of personal data of citizens in foreign jurisdictions with a view towards upholding the right to privacy.”
You can read the UN draft in full here.
The draft does not refer to US spying revelations made by former US contractor Edward Snowden but according to The Foreign policy it was clear that the leaks provided the political momentum to trigger the move to the UN.
Germany and Brazil are drafting a UN General Assembly resolution that would demand an end to excessive spying and invasion of privacy after a former US intelligence contractor revealed massive international surveillance programs, UN diplomats said on Friday.
Charges that the NSA accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel’s mobile phone have caused outrage in Europe. Germany said on Friday it would send its top intelligence chiefs to Washington next week to seek answers from the White House.
In response to the disclosures about US spying, many of which came from fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the German and Brazilian UN delegations have begun work on a draft resolution to submit to the 193-nation General Assembly, several UN diplomats told Reuters.
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.
Merkel demanded on Thursday that Washington strike a “no-spying” agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, adding she wanted action from President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words.
Last month, Rousseff used her position as the opening speaker at the General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders to accuse the United States of violating human rights and international law through espionage that included spying on her email.
Voice of Russia, AFP, Foreign Policy, Reuters, TASS