German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has arrived in Washington to meet President Obama and talk about the crisis in the Ukraine has at least tried to calm down expectations that whistle-blower Edward Snowden can be invited to the parliamentary Inquiry Court which deals with the issue of mass surveillance by NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ, not only Merkel’s “handygate”.
For Merkel and her government, Snowden is not welcome in Berlin. She fears that Snowden’s testimony before the court would inevitably damage the otherwise robust transatlantic relationship. So, Merkel had apparently commissioned a legal opinion by renowned Washington-based law firm Rubin, Winston, Dierks, Harris & Cooke, a copy of which, it seems so, had been leaked to Der Spiegel. The news magazine does not link to the 12 pages written by Jeffrey Harris, but explains (unfortunately not in its English version), that it would be a criminal offense if the “main perpetrator” [Snowden] would be urged, by German lawmakers, to reveal secret information. That could be even considered “theft of state property”. Depending on evidence, criminal prosecuters may act on the assumption of “conspiracy”. Thus, for German lawmakers diplomatic immunity may be revoked. When traveling to the U.S. next time, they might even face to be detained.
While Merkel crows, the opposition in Bundestag (green and left-wing parties) is furious.2 May 2014 @ 7:12 pm. Last modified May 2, 2014.