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Lawmaker Says Snowden May Testify Before EU Parliament

A European lawmaker says former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is set to testify before a civil liberties committee of the European Parliament later this month.

Snowden, of course, is expected to talk about the surveillance activities of United States' National Security Agency. Reporter Teri Schultz filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Snowden could appear in a videoconference conversation as early as December 18th, says German Green member of parliament Jan-Philipp Albrecht. The initiative comes from the former NSA contractor himself, who reportedly brought it up months ago with his lawyers.

"Members of the civil-liberties committee will have to vote in favor of holding a Snowden hearing; some British conservatives are opposed but the proposal is expected to pass. Even supportive members, however, question Snowden's motivation in the entire affair and would like to grill him on whether he's now cooperating with the Russian or Chinese governments.

"Since interviewing Snowden live could reveal clues about his exact whereabouts in Russia, committee members would send him questions and he would record answers to be played back to the parliament."

European countries have become very interested in the work of the NSA, because documents leaked by Snowden show that the U.S. collects vast troves of data of French and German citizens.

A German lawmaker had previously asked Snowden to testify before his Parliament, but Snowden declined, saying he would happily do so, but he first wanted to testify before the U.S. Congress.

It's not clear why Snowden, who is exiled in Russia, has changed his mind.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.