By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
In the wake of strained relations with Germany after Chancellor Angela Merkel found out her phone was being spied on by the US National Security Agency (NSA), a German Parliament member named Hans-Christian Ströbele is stirring the pot with ex-NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Back in May, Snowden created international drama after fleeing the US and telling the world about the NSA’s spying operations, both at home and internationally. After being granted asylum (protection against one’s native country) in Russia, Snowden seems to be growing restless. He met on Thursday for three hours with Ströbele, at an unknown location in or nearby Moscow, and gave him a letter in which he asks the US for “clemency” (mercy).
Snowden believes he had “a moral duty to act” and that he’s been unfairly threatened with punishment, despite the fact he broke multiple laws in the US and knowingly fled the country before doing so.
Still, he views his actions as having positive effects, because he explains, “These spying revelations have resulted in the proposal of many new laws and policies to address formerly concealed abuses of the public trust. The benefits to society of this growing knowledge are becoming increasingly clear…” Given that US spying operations have been public knowledge for many years now, the real effects of Snowden’s leak can be felt in weaker US relations with key allies and an NSA distracted from its security mission.
Even though he was fully aware that revealing sensitive information was a high crime, he claims that the US is just trying to “criminalize political speech with felony charges… 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 behavior.”
As for Ströbele, the politician hopes to get Snowden safely to Germany without the US demanding his return to stand trial. Once there, Ströbele would like Snowden to testify in the German government’s investigation of US spying activities in their country. In an interview, Ströbele says that his efforts with Snowden are partially motivated by getting back at the US for monitoring Merkel.
Featured image courtesy of TheWikiLeaksChannel on YouTube. Image of Ströbele and Snowden courtesy of Hans-Christian Ströbele.