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November 2, 2013

Snowden seeks help against charges

(Continued)

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.

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