Germany’s committee of inquiry into surveillance of German citizens by the NSA and its partners has held its first hearing today in Berlin. Proceedings are being broadcast live on the internet, with a time-lag.
Following months of negotiations, Germany’s four major parties unanimously approved a parliamentary inquiry into surveillance in March. The Snowden revelations have proven particularly resonant in Germany, where there have been repeated demands for the public prosecutor’s office to look into allegations of surveillance on German citizens, including the Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the possible complicity of the German intelligence service, the BND.
In January 2014, the Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament voted to invite Edward Snowden to testify to its long running inquiry on electronic mass surveillance. Snowden’s testimony has now been published. Unlike Snowden’s previous brief statement to the inquiry, this new evidence includes answers to specific questions posed by members of the LIBE Committee.
In his evidence, Snowden reiterates that he is limiting his comments to topics that have already been reported on. He also repeats hs “willingness to provide testimony to the United States Congress, should they decide to consider the issue of unconstitutional mass surveillance.”
For the past five months the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has been conducting an investigation into electronic mass surveillance of, and conducted by, EU member states. This inquiry, prompted directly by Edward Snowden’s revelations, held the first of its fifteen hearings on 5 September 2013 and is now making amendments to the draft report prepared by Inquiry rapporteur, MEP Claude Moraes.