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Snowden seeks world's help against U.S. charges

By Geir Moulson & Kirsten Grieshaber

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:37 a.m. HST, Nov 01, 2013

BERLIN >> NSA leaker Edward Snowden is calling for international help to persuade the U.S. to drop the charges against him, according to a letter that a German lawmaker released today after meeting the American in Moscow.

Snowden said he would like to testify before the U.S. Congress about National Security Agency surveillance, and may be willing to help German officials investigate alleged U.S. spying in Germany too, Hans-Christian Stroebele, a lawmaker with Germany's opposition Greens, told a press conference.

But Snowden indicated in the letter that neither would happen unless the U.S. dropped the charges against him.

Earlier today, Germany's top security official said he would like to arrange for German authorities to talk to Snowden about allegations that the NSA monitored the cellphones of Chancellor Angela Merkel and other U.S. surveillance operations.

In the one-page typed letter, written in English and bearing signatures that Stroebele said were his own and Snowden's, Snowden complained that the U.S. government "continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense."

Snowden faces espionage charges in the U.S.

"I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behavior," Snowden wrote.

But he indicated he wouldn't talk in Germany or elsewhere until "the situation is resolved."

Stroebele said Snowden appeared healthy and cheerful during their meeting Thursday at an undisclosed location in Moscow.

"(He) said that he would like most to lay the facts on the table before a committee of the U.S. Congress and explain them," Stroebele said. The lawmaker, a prominent critic of the NSA's alleged activities, said the 30-year-old "did not present himself to me as anti-American or anything like that -- quite the contrary."

Stroebele said it wasn't clear whether anyone else has received the same letter. He said he sent it Friday to Merkel's staff, German federal prosecutors and the speaker of Germany's Parliament.

Germany is seeking answers from U.S. authorities to allegations that Merkel's cellphone was monitored, which prompted the German chancellor to complain to Obama last week. German officials held talks on the spying issue Wednesday in Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, is conceding that some of the NSA's spying has reached too far and will be stopped.

Kerry said Thursday in a video link to an open government conference in London that because of modern technology, some of the NSA activities have been happening on "automatic pilot" without the knowledge of Obama administration officials.

Kerry said ongoing reviews of U.S. surveillance will ensure that technology is not being abused.

"The president and I have learned of some things that have been happening in many ways on an automatic pilot, because the technology is there," Kerry said. "In some cases, some of these actions have reached too far and we are going to try to make sure it doesn't happen in the future," he said.

Earlier Friday, Germany's interior minister said if Snowden were willing, he would try to arrange a meeting with German officials.

"If the message is that Mr. Snowden wants to give us information, then we will be glad to accept that," Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said, according to the Die Zeit newspaper. His spokesman confirmed the comments.

Snowden was granted asylum in Russia in August after being stuck at a Moscow airport for more than a month following his arrival there from Hong Kong. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Snowden got asylum on condition that he wouldn't harm U.S. interests.

Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told the Interfax news agency that Snowden would not violate the conditions of his asylum if he talked to the Germans in the wiretapping case.

But Stroebele said Snowden had "significant reservations" about that idea, fearing that speaking to foreign officials on Russian soil could cause him problems.

Germany, along with many other nations, rejected an asylum request from Snowden earlier this year. In July, the Germans received a U.S. request for Snowden's arrest should he be found in the country.

German federal prosecutors are looking into whether there are grounds to investigate the allegations regarding Merkel's cellphone. Germany's parliament is expected to discuss the NSA's alleged spying on Nov. 18.

Stroebele was tightlipped about where he was taken to meet Snowden in Russia. He said he had "no contact with Russian authorities" other than a passport control officer and none with the German Embassy in Moscow.


AP correspondents Vladimir Isachenkov and Jim Heintz in Moscow and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

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ceria wrote:
Snowden, take responsibility for your actions.
on November 1,2013 | 05:54AM
eoe wrote:
Please, tell me more.
on November 1,2013 | 05:55AM
RichardCory wrote:
He's still fighting for the rights of the people, so it looks like he's taking responsibility to me. Keep up the good work, Snowden.
on November 1,2013 | 06:12AM
hunebasami wrote:
When your wife and kids die in a bombing I hope you can smile and thank him. I believe we should use all the thing to help American live a good and safe life. To bad you don't.
on November 1,2013 | 08:47AM
HD36 wrote:
How come it didn't stop the guy at LAX?
on November 1,2013 | 03:32PM
cojef wrote:
Have mixed emotions on his change of heart. Further with respects to the wanting the US dropping charges it will not happen in the short term. He is most effective if he remains abroad if there are more revelations to be had. As far as the asylum is concerned it stipulates that Snowden cannot release any data that will harm US interests. So the point is moot.
on November 1,2013 | 10:18AM
saveparadise wrote:
Why would you support a traitor to national security? Your personal agenda nor mine is more important than the safety of all Americans!
on November 1,2013 | 10:20AM
mikethenovice wrote:
The Republicans pardon all thugs.
on November 1,2013 | 06:19AM
Anonymous wrote:
I love my country and the ideals we were raised on but we need to stop being "big brother." We need to get back some of our freedoms that we have lost in the last half century. Its like we're more socialist/communist than ever before. Govt controls more and more, what we do, where we go, what we say, what we need and etc, etc. We have it matriculate down to our State and local govt to further restrict our freedoms in State and local laws and ordinances. All for what? Our own well being and safety...ohh, and national security BS. Just seems at some point, we will wake up and realize we are a socialist State with communist tendencies with a past history of some democracy.
on November 1,2013 | 06:20AM
pcman wrote:
I have no doubt that Snowden has been hired as a consultant on how NSA technical systems are designed and executed. He will be valuable in developing methods to hack into the NSA systems programs to counter any collection against Russia and Russian allies like Iran, Syria, North Korea and Cuba. He will also provide insights on how to plan and execute cyber attacks against US intelligence collection efforts should if become necessary. I am pretty sure he will not have access to any Russian strategic and military technical systems for his possible return to the US or move to any other country which could provide him with better pay, benefits and opportunities..
on November 1,2013 | 06:26AM
WhyBother wrote:
I guess he's getting tired of Russia already and wants to come home. Good riddance.
on November 1,2013 | 06:36AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Not good riddance. Actually, the U.S. wants him to come back. He has a big mouth and he is embarrassing the U.S. ... Big time.
on November 1,2013 | 06:49AM
Tarball wrote:
Hey, Snowden . . . . . . is the USA is the only country involved in spying? GET REAL!
on November 1,2013 | 06:52AM
HD36 wrote:
Yes he broke the law, but it was because the NSA broke the Constitution. Government isn't going to provide you with a utopian society. Why do they need a secret court in order to get search warrants for all the coversations and e-mails they reed? I thought government was supposed to promote a free society, where people can take care of themselves. Germans still have the memories of the Hitler youth spying squads.
on November 1,2013 | 07:01AM
pcman wrote:
IRT HD on Constitution. Two wrongs don't make a right. Snowden is a traitor, who broke the oath he took to defend the US and the US Constitution. Actually NSA did not break the Constitution. What it has been doing did not deny anyone free speech or any other freedom. The three branches of government have been involved in what they do to defend Americans at home and American interests overseas including protecting business/businessmen, military personnel, government officials, American travelers, students, and workers. The secret court is part of the Justice Dept, just like the secret NSA is part of the Defense Dept, and the secret Senate and House is part of Congress. The only guarantee of a free society is the military and the intelligence community. That's how we won WW II in Europe and the Pacific, the Cold War and all the little wars or police actions around the world.
on November 1,2013 | 02:02PM
HD36 wrote:
I'd say, along with Ron Paul that the NSA has violated the 4th Ammendment right to unlawful search and siezure and the right to privacy. If they were just tapping international call that would be one thing but the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was designed to protect citizens against the government. Liberty and Freedom from government tyranny were foremost in the framers mind as we had just won our liberty from England and we never wanted to have a society of overbearing governmental control again. Without ever being able to challenge the validity of a search warrant ,because the court is a secret one ,violates due process, and the right to face your accuser. The only gaurantee of a free society is a society where individuals are free. If government tries to gaurantee your safety and your liberty, you end up with neither. We won WWII in Europe because the Germans ran out of resources to fight the war. ie gasoling. The cold war was won because the former Soviet Union collapsed economically due to a government controlled economy, aka communism. Turns out that about 15 of the 22 so called rescues because of our spying were actually FBI sting operations. The boogey man gonna get ya if we don't tax you to death and spend all your money on spying. People have fallen for that line since they said Vietnam was going to become communists and take over the USA.
on November 1,2013 | 03:10PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
Snowden has been extremely careful not to release information that could harm legitimate U.S. intelligence efforts and personnel--only NSA excesses which violate the Fourth Amendment and Civil Liberties. The Obama Administration has reacted violently to exposure of the NSA's massive operation of gathering all electronic communication between American citizens. Snowden should be charged with unauthorized use of information, not espionage. And the U.S. Congress should pardon him. There are too many in Congress who care more about cheerleading for agencies that violate the Constitution, instead of protecting the rights of their constituents.
on November 1,2013 | 07:41AM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
Now how do you know that he hasnt released sensitive information that jeopardizes national security?.....right now he is in Russia and who knows what kind of information he has leaked....as for wishing that the U.S. drop the charges against him....thats not going to happen anytime soon....
on November 1,2013 | 08:07AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Blues on Snowden. He actually released something more critical and sensitive than 'information.' That is the 'methods and sources' of intelligence collection. Any information he had released can be declassified. That's not the problem. However, methods and sources affect whole systems and programs of collection which, once broken cannot be fixed against enemies of the US.
on November 1,2013 | 02:20PM
gyang wrote:
Leave him there, just don't respond. What will he do?
on November 1,2013 | 07:47AM
hunebasami wrote:
Shoot the guy.
on November 1,2013 | 08:41AM
saveparadise wrote:
I agree. Traitors and terrorists sleep together.
on November 1,2013 | 10:21AM
hanalei395 wrote:
During the 1980's, the U.S. and Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, "slept together" in Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan supplied the terrorists with high-tech weapons and with billions of $$$$$. Reagan called them "freedom fighters".
on November 1,2013 | 10:33AM
Morimoto wrote:
Thank you Snowden for your courage and resolve. You've finally exposed the U.S. government for the hypocrites they are.
on November 1,2013 | 10:31AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Morimoto on Snowden. Morimoto I a hypocrite to expect the US to defend our rights of free speech, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness but cheers on an enemy of the same freedoms. Get real or suffer the consequence you hope for.
on November 1,2013 | 02:29PM
Readitnow wrote:
US counter offer to Snowden … turn yourself in and face your charges. Or, listen for the sound of the drone overhead when you're sleeping. Poof !
on November 1,2013 | 10:34AM
hanalei395 wrote:
A drone in Russia? The Russians will have an answer for that.
on November 1,2013 | 10:43AM
HD36 wrote:
They do. It's called the Onyx missile. 25 years ahead of the Tomohawk Cruise missle, they act like a pack of wolves and independently strike in a strategic method.
on November 1,2013 | 03:16PM
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