Conflict & Justice

Snowden Leaks Spark Controversy in Europe Over NSA Surveillance


German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) election campaign rally in Heringsdorf at the Baltic sea July 22, 2013. General elections will be held in Germany on September 22. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (GERMANY - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTX11V5I



Two months before Germans go to the polls, US surveillance practices have become a national election issue in Germany thanks in large part to the fugitive Edward Snowden. The former intelligence analyst holed up at a Moscow airport for the past month is facing espionage charges for leaking details on the National Security Agency's electronic monitoring program.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Snowden's allegations prompted a US House amendment to curb the NSA program that went down in a narrow defeat Wednesday.

Now, they have riled up an election campaign in Germany that was not supposed to be a tight race, and prompted calls for tighter European Union restrictions on surveillance.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has put American spying practices in a critical light, saying this is "not how we would expect those we consider friends to treat us."

But the German news magazine Der Spiegel has reported that German intelligence officers under Merkel's own administration have cooperated with the NSA.

The World's host Carol Hills spoke about the fallout in Germany and the European Union from Snowden's leaks with Constanze Stelzenmuller of the German Marshall Fund in Berlin.