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Snowden claims U.S. NSA could have been spying on German govt members

January 27, 2014, 18:31 UTC+3 BERLIN
U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has claimed Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service closely cooperates with the U.S. National Security Agency
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BERLIN, January 27. /ITAR-TASS/. U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has claimed Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) closely cooperates with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and with an intelligence alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, known as Five Eyes.

Snowden, a former NSA contractor, told the German TV channel NDR on Sunday that the BND and the NSA share not only information but also tools and infrastructure to achieve common goals.

He did not rule out that the NSA’s apparent tapping could have covered not only Chancellor Angela Merkel but other German government officials as well.

The whistleblower said it was doubtful that that those interested in the plans of the German government would only tap Merkel rather than also her advisors, other government officials, ministers and representatives of local administrations.

The United States accuses Edward Snowden, 30, of leaking information on the NSA’s secret surveillance programs to media. Despite U.S. extradition requests, he was granted a one-year temporary asylum in Russia in August 2013 after spending more than a month in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow. He has reportedly found a website maintenance job and resides at an undisclosed location in Russia.

Snowden also told the NDR he no longer had any exposing materials as all data had been handed to journalists.

He defended his right to reveal what he called abuses by the NSA saying the public had the right to know what the government was doing.

According to Snowden’s assessment, the Five Eyes intelligence cooperation deal is an artifact of the Second World War. He said the intelligence alliance does not adhere to laws of its member countries.

Asked about his future, Snowden said he would welcome an opportunity to discuss how to reach a solution that would please all sides, but added that there was little hope U.S. President Barack Obama would take an active part in deciding his fate. Snowden said his trial in the U.S. would be a show trial.

The U.S. authorities say Snowden violated two clauses of a 1917 law on espionage by divulging some secret data related to national defense and by deliberately transferring U.S. intelligence data to individuals not authorized to obtain such data. Snowden is also charged with stealing U.S. government property. Should he turn up on American soil one day, he faces ten years in prison on each charge.

The former NSA contractor said Obama had the power to stop what he called illegal activities of U.S. special services.

The interview with Snowden was recorded by journalist Hubert Seipel at an undisclosed location in Moscow on January 22. The German TV channel said preparations for the interview had taken six months.

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