Yesterday was an odd day in Germany over the NSA episode that is brewing....ever so slowly.
Weeks ago, the government came to an agreed stance (both the CDU/CSU and SPD groups were in agreement)....that an investigation would occur over the NSA, and this committee of investigators would be led by Clemens Binninger.
Binninger is a CDU member, but generally respected a very fair legal mind, and has a distinguished reputation. One should state though....he deals in facts....not guesses. That attitude has been prevalent in just about everything he accomplishes.
Yesterday, Binninger resigned from the committee.
There's this issue which is breaking up the committee and its agenda (two agendas apparently). From the SPD side, along with the Greens in the Bundestag, there's the attitude that only by bringing Eric Snowden from Moscow to Germany.....can the truth be established.
No one much believes that it's a round-trip deal. You'd have to offer him immunity, and some quietly believe that immunity would include a permanent presence in Germany. No one from the SPD will say that part in public, but some journalists have noted that you can't just fly the guy in for a twenty-four hour interview and fly him back. And if in Germany....the US can present court documents demanding that they hand him over.
The general feeling is that the SPD wants this US confrontation, and will refuse to hand Snowden over. By generating a must-come-to-Germany situation, they basically throw the US to the next chaotic moment. Chancellor Merkel probably sees through this argument, and knows what the ultimate goal really is.
Binninger commented over the issues as he resigned yesterday. Snowden now openly says....that he doesn't have or control the documents from the NSA. Journalists hold them. So in Binninger's mind....Snowden is of minimum value. He can't talk absolutes....only the documents can do that. The case of bringing Snowden to Germany....now is of marginal value. Yet, the SPD won't drop the demand and can't grasp why Binninger absolutely refuses to discuss the bring-Snowden-to-Germany deal.
The replacement from the CDU to run the committee? Michael Gross-Bromer. He is a lawyer by trade, and generally noted for strong ethics. In this case? Well....he'll spend a week getting up to speed....then meet with the committee, and ask some stupid questions over Snowden. He may allow Snowden to testify....maybe while in Moscow, which won't be acceptable to the SPD. Then he might grin and suggest that he has no problems in sending a German navy vessel over to harbor by Russia, and having Snowden as a guest on the German navy vessel. Likely to also be unacceptable.
Will Snowden eventually be drawn into Germany? I suspect that a year will be wasted as the CDU/CSU fights this agenda item. It will simply beg for the US to present court papers to seize Snowden while in Germany. If they fail to comply.....there are dozens of ways that the US can be uncooperative the next time that Germany wants someone seized in the US, or a reduction in military forces in Germany, or perhaps zero cooperation in the Ukraine mess.
For the SPD? The game is on for the election of 2017. Through some process.....the CDU needs to be weaken enough for the SPD to recover and win the election. Presently, there's a fair amount of attention going to the Linke Party which is the alternate place for leftists to vote instead of the SPD. There is some fear that things could be screwed up enough....that the Linke Party would finally get twenty-five percent of the vote, and really toss the day-to-day operations of the government into absolute chaos.
Snowden? He's quietly sitting there and anticipating that he will get a permanent residence in Germany. He'll be some fake tool of some agenda....like he presently is in Moscow. The value of some court appearance? Without the documents? In my mind, he's of minimum value. A young guy who worked maybe five years for the NSA? His only value revolves around the documents. If he doesn't have them or control them....to me....he has zero value.
The bottom line? Sometime in 2014, this NSA mess will likely trigger some big headlines, for the reason of political agendas. And the public? They will get nothing out of this. Remember, this past week....they were finally told of several million German email accounts and passwords were compromised....NOT by the NSA....but by private individuals. These people are still waiting for the government to explain this, and to point the finger at the right person or group. A committee to investigate this? No. Don't count on the SPD doing that.