Fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has told Germany he is counting on international support to stop Washington's 'persecution' of him for revealing the scale of its worldwide phone and Internet surveillance, said German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele on Friday (November 1) after meeting Snowden in Moscow.
In an open letter to a country at the centre of the row over U.S. spying on allies, Snowden said his revelations had helped to "address formerly concealed abuses of the public trust".
Complaining that Washington continued to "treat dissent as defection" and speaking of a "sustained campaign of persecution" that he said had forced him into exile in Russia, Snowden wrote that "speaking the truth is not a crime."
"I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behaviour," read his letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German parliament and German federal prosecutors.
Snowden gave the letter to Stroebele, a maverick 74-year-old member of parliament for the opposition Greens, who presented it to the media in Berlin on Friday.
Stroebele said Snowden was ready to travel to Germany to help its parliamentary inquiry into NSA bugging of Merkel's mobile phone, but added that "he would rather lay the facts on the table in front of the U.S. Congress or a committee of the U.S. Congress and explain to them, because he sees his message not only in disclosing undesirable developments in the U.S., but possible serious criminal acts."
Germany's parliament wants to talk to Snowden about the NSA's secret monitoring of Merkel's phone and the communications of a host of politicians and business people, according to reports. But visiting Germany would pose grave diplomatic problems for Merkel and endanger Snowden's asylum status back in Moscow.
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