The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

November 2, 2013

Snowden seeks help against charges

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 Friday 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 Friday, 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.”

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