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

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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.

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.

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

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    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.

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