Russia says American surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden is free to help German investigations into reports the US National Security Agency(NSA) spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ' s spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the remark on Saturday, after Snowden said he was ready to help the German probe into NSA spying. " He has temporary refugee status. That status does not foresee any restrictions on his moving around the country or speaking to anyone, " Peskov said. Snowden spent about a month in the transit zone of a Moscow international airport before Kremlin granted him asylum for one year in Russia in August. The Russian president has said Snowden was welcome to stay in the country as long as he did not work against American interests. Putin ' s spokesman said on Saturday that the condition remained in place. " No one will allow him to use the territory of Russia to harm US interests. " However, Peskov said Snowden was free to talk to German prosecutors, or even travel to Germany. " No one is keeping him here. He is not being held captive here, " said Peskov. " He is free to pack up and fly anywhere he wants. " But he stated that if Snowden wanted to return to Russia, he would have to apply for asylum afresh. " He can leave only once, " Peskov said. On Thursday, Snowden met in Moscow with German MP Hans - Christian Stroebele, who sits on the German parliament ' s control committee that monitors the work of intelligence agencies. His trip came a day after the heads of Germany ' s foreign and domestic intelligence agencies visited Washington to probe the spying controversy. The German parliament will convene on November 18 to discuss the spying scandal while some MPs, including Stroebele, have demanded a public inquiry calling in witnesses including Snowden. The German weeklyDer Spiegelsaid in a report published on October 26 that the magazine had seen secret documents from the NSA which show that Merkel ' s mobile phone had been listed by the agency’s Special Collection Service(SCS) since 2002. The report added that the German chancellor’s mobile number was still on a surveillance list in June 2013. On October 24,The Guardiansaid in a report that the NSA had monitored the telephone conversations of 35 world leaders. Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft. The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries.