The German parliament has set up an inquiry into the role played by the German BND spy agency in the mass surveillance programs, outlined by Snowden in 2013, run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain's General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
Attempts to bring Snowden before the inquiry committee have — so far — proved fruitless, because of opposition from the German Government. However, the German Federal Court of Justice. November 21, ruled — in response to a request from opposition parties the Greens and the Left — that the Berlin administration were obliged to invite Snowden to give evidence.
The issue of whether Snowden would actually leave Moscow — where he is in temporary asylum — is unclear, although it is highly unlikely he would risk leaving the sanctuary of Russia to venture to Germany, which is a strong US ally, putting him in danger of extradition to the US (and possible execution).
Despite the apparent breakthrough, the President of the BND, Gerhard Schindler has told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper that the committee of politicians are not likely to gain new insights. "If Snowden is actually to be heard as a witness, you will be disappointed," Schindler said.
The German Government came in for enormous criticism after it was revealed that its own government — in the form of Chancellor Angela Merkel's office — had been aware of the close cooperation between Germany's BND and the NSA in surveillance of politicians and commercial companies on German soil.
Merkel's government had previously reacted with anger at the Snowden revelations of mass surveillance by the NSA and GCHQ in Europe — including, allegedly, Merkel's own phone. When it was revealed that the BND was working in cahoots with the NSA, the issue became politically toxic, leading to the current parliamentary inquiry.
Schindler' comments — as the BND's chief — that Snowden's evidence will be effectively pointless will add fuel to the fire suggesting the German Government is more interested in maintaining close links with Washington that raking over old coals.