21st Oct 2016

Snowden to make video appearance at EU parliament

  • Fugitive Edward Snowden is considered a hero by pro-rights groups (Photo: Mike Herbst)

Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is set to make a pre-recorded video appearance at the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee around 18 December.

“The meeting will be live-streamed but the statement will be recorded answers of our questions, which will we send in advance,” said German Green MEP Jan Phillip Albrecht on Friday (6 December).

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Albrecht noted that a live stream of Snowden himself would risk revealing his location.

The American is currently in Russia where he is said to be working at the country's version of Facebook, VKontakte.

The US charged him with espionage after he leaked top-secret documents to former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald in a Hong Kong hotel room in late May.

The revelations, first reported by the Washington Post and the Guardian in early June, caused a widespread backlash against US-led intelligence gathering regimes.

The documents allege US and UK intelligence agencies, with the help of other EU counterparts and major Internet companies, are sweeping up the personal details of almost everyone in the name of counter-terrorism.

US authorities have admitted that the extent of the spying by the Fort Meade-based National Security Agency (NSA) needs to be scaled back.

But senior US lawmakers in November refused to grant Snowden any clemency.

MEPs are in contact with Snowden via his lawyer, who had made an appearance at an earlier committee inquiry into the spying allegations.

“Our secretariat had contacted him via her,” said Albrecht.

Albrecht said Snowden has been following the parliament hearings “because it is one of the only places where a real debate is taking place, at the moment.”

The deputies are currently putting together their list of questions.

“That’s the plan at the moment and hopefully it will be possible,” said Albrecht.

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