The leader of Germany’s opposition Green Party says Europe should grant asylum to former CIA spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of secret US surveillance programs on EU offices.
German news magazine Der Spiegel
reported on June 29 that the leaked documents showed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) bugged the offices and spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington, New York and Brussels.
Green politician Jurgen Trittin told German television on Monday, “Someone like that should be protected.”
“That counts for Mr. Snowden. He should get safe haven here in Europe because he has done us a service by revealing a massive attack on European citizens and companies. Germany, as part of Europe, could do that,” Trittin added.
The German Green Party leader described Snowden as “someone who has served democracy and, in our view, uncovered a massive violation of basic rights.”
The European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, has warned that a long-awaited trade deal between the European Union and the United States could be in jeopardy following the revelations.
Other European officials have also reacted angrily to the latest disclosures, which showed that the NSA spying operations had 38 targets, including the EU headquarters in Brussels, and the French, Italian and Greek Embassies in Washington, as well as the EU delegation at the United Nations.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has demanded an explanation from US authorities, saying that if the spying activities are confirmed, then it would be “totally unacceptable.”
German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger compared the disclosure to methods used during the Cold War, saying, “If the media reports are accurate, it is reminiscent of actions among enemies during the Cold War.”
European Parliament President Martin Schulz has said he was “deeply worried and shocked” by the latest reports.
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has also responded by saying, “The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies. We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately.”
Snowden is currently in a transit zone at Domodedovo International Airport in the Russian capital, Moscow, after the United States revoked his passport to prevent him from travelling further. Snowden has asked Ecuador for asylum.
In the beginning of June, Snowden leaked documents that revealed the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been secretly gathering information of American citizens and other people all around the world.