Snowden's lawyer says he'll testify about German surveillance…if Germany gets him safe passage out of Russia

An official German government committee of inquiry investigating the illegal surveillance that Edward Snowden revealed has asked Snowden to testify before it, the German Federal Court of Justice has ordered the German government to offer Snowden safe passage to Germany to do so, or admit to illegal spying.

The order requires the German government to assure Snowden that he will not be extradited to the USA. Snowden has declined to participate by video link, or to meet with committee members in Moscow.

If Germany grants Snowden safe passage, it will doubtlessly enrage both the Obama administration (which has said it will not pardon Snowden on its way out) and the incoming Trump administration, whose incoming CIA head called for Snowden's execution.

Following a formal complaint by the greens and left-wing politicians, Germany's Federal Court of Justice has ruled that the German government must provide the necessary guarantees that would allow Snowden to give evidence in person, or explain why it will not do so.

Snowden's lawyer, Wolfgang Kaleck, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the German government might refuse to provide guarantees, and officially admit that it regards cooperating with the US on intelligence matters in the future as more important than getting to the bottom of past surveillance. In that case, an appeal could be made to Germany's constitutional court, according to an article in Der Spiegel, which would decide whether the German government was allowed to make that trade-off.

Snowden can be asked to testify in person in German NSA probe
[Glyn Moody/Ars Technica]

(Image: Berlin 2013 PRISM Demo, Mike Herbst, CC-BY-SA<)