Skip to main content

Report: Snowden's Russia asylum not breached by NSA spying reports

By CNN Staff
updated 8:33 AM EST, Mon November 4, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • His asylum stands despite claims that the NSA spied in Germany, newspaper reports
  • Putin aide is cited as saying reports in the German press were not distributed from Russia
  • Snowden was granted asylum by Russia under the condition that he stops harming the U.S.

(CNN) -- U.S. leaker Edward Snowden did not violate the terms of his asylum in Russia when claims surfaced that a National Security Agency surveillance operation targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin told Russian daily newspaper Kommersant.

Snowden, a former NSA contractor, was granted asylum in Russia under the condition that he stops harming the United States.

But Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, is cited by Kommersant in a report published Saturday as saying that the reports published in the German press were not distributed from Russia.

Allegations that the NSA monitored Merkel's cell phone sparked outrage among German leaders.

Germany sent a delegation to the White House this week for talks on the matter. European Union lawmakers also visited Washington this week, where they met with National Security Council staffers.

Top senator: Obama didn't know of U.S. spying on Germany's leader

Edward Snowden's new job
Fmr. FBI agent: Snowden remains valuable
Sean Penn: Snowden isn't a whistleblower

Snowden was granted a year's asylum by Russia in August, after arriving there from Hong Kong in June.

Snowden told The New York Times in an interview published last month that he gave all of the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, before flying to Moscow, and did not keep any copies for himself.

Lawmaker: Snowden wants to testify in Washington

The United States has charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.

But a German lawmaker who met with Snowden in Moscow on Thursday said that Snowden did not see himself as an "enemy of America" and that he wants to testify in Washington.

Revelations of U.S. spying involving allied leaders and citizens have sparked calls for the United States to roll back its surveillance programs and triggered threats of repercussions.

On Wednesday, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said authorities there have demanded an explanation from the United States about surveillance activities.

In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the nation's intelligence chief will brief lawmakers about what Spain knows about U.S. activities in a closed-door session in Madrid.

Opinion: Germany's Stasi past looms over NSA spying furor

Last week, the European Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution calling for the end to a treaty with the United States allowing for the exchange of some banking data meant to help track terrorist financing.

Without providing details, the European Union delegation described its talks as an opportunity to explore "possible legal remedies for EU citizens" affected by U.S. surveillance.

Snowden gets website job in Russia

CNN's Pierre Meilhan contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Data mining & privacy
updated 10:25 AM EDT, Sun June 23, 2013
He's a high-school dropout who worked his way into the most secretive computers in U.S. intelligence as a defense contractor.
updated 8:26 AM EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
Traitor or patriot? Low-level systems analyst or highly trained spy?
updated 3:27 PM EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
What are the takeaways from Snowden's NBC interview? You might be surprised.
updated 7:52 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Months after accepting asylum in Russia, Snowden asked Putin about Moscow's own surveillance practices.
updated 12:43 PM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
A federal judge has refused the Obama administration's request to extend storage of classified NSA telephone surveillance data beyond the current five-year limit.
updated 8:44 PM EDT, Sun March 9, 2014
From his sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange said that everyone in the world will be just as effectively monitored soon -- at least digitally.
updated 8:39 PM EDT, Mon March 10, 2014
In a rare public talk via the Web, fugitive NSA leaker Edward Snowden urged a tech conference audience to help "fix" the U.S. government's surveillance of its citizens.
updated 11:55 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
The White House is "very disappointed" that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.
updated 8:57 AM EST, Tue December 10, 2013
Spies with surveillance agencies in the U.S. and U.K. infiltrated video games like "World of Warcraft" in a hunt for terrorists "hiding in plain sight" online.
updated 7:39 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden both held jobs that gave them access to some of their country's most secret and sensitive intelligence. They chose to share that material with the world and are now paying for it.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
The NSA's controversial intelligence-gathering programs have prevented 54 terrorist attacks around the world, including 13 in the United States.
updated 2:54 PM EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
You've never heard of XKeyscore, but it definitely knows you. The National Security Agency's top-secret program essentially makes available everything you've ever done on the Internet.
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Sun August 18, 2013
You may have never heard of Lavabit and Silent Circle. That's because they offered encrypted (secure) e-mail services, something most Americans have probably never thought about needing.
updated 2:54 PM EDT, Wed July 24, 2013
"Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere ... I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone."
updated 9:56 AM EDT, Tue July 2, 2013
President Barack Obama responds to outrage by European leaders over revelations of alleged U.S. spying.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
Browse through a history of high-profile intelligence leaking cases.
updated 10:37 AM EDT, Tue July 2, 2013
Former President George W. Bush talks Snowden, AIDS, Mandela and his legacy.
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Wed June 26, 2013
Edward Snowden took a job with an NSA contractor in order to gather evidence about U.S. surveillance programs.
updated 6:47 AM EDT, Wed June 19, 2013
With reports of NSA snooping, many people have started wondering about their personl internet security.
updated 9:52 AM EDT, Wed August 14, 2013
Click through our gallery to learn about other major leaks and what happened in the aftermath.
updated 4:02 PM EDT, Sun June 9, 2013
What really goes on inside America's most secretive agency? CNN's Chris Lawrence reports.
ADVERTISEMENT