This NSA-snooping committee that the Bundestag has organized....came to a fairly big stumble yesterday. The big moment designed by the Greens on the committee....had envisioned this five-star moment when they would get Edward Snowden (the NSA guy sitting in Moscow) to do a formal hearing. The committee would have packed up....gone to Moscow....and likely spent a day or two getting to their version of the facts.
The stumble? Snowden's lawyer says that they will be NO formal or informal meeting to present evidence to the German "jury".
The game being played out? Well....Snowden and his lawyer suspect that they can push this a bit, and get German political figures to agree on allowing him to enter Germany to present the evidence....thus getting immunity....and staying permanently there.
Yeah, it's a pretty big stretch.
Several German publications over the weekend put up some commentary that statistic polls now show a fair number of Germans support Snowden's immunity and allowing him to stay in Germany. The polls weren't explained to any degree, and one might suspect that more than fifty percent of all Germans don't care.....don't know much of anything on Snowden....and don't have much of an interest in the NSA affair or Snowden's Moscow dilemma.
The other side of this is that Snowden's trump-card was the data files....which he says that he no longer has in his possession (his journalist buddies supposedly hold them). Without the data files....you'd have to question the immense value assigned to Snowden, and suspect that's he a marginal two-star player in this whole thing now.
For the members of the committee who are still intent on making the interview happen and bringing Snowden to Germany? They have one single agenda. Get Snowden in Germany.....trigger the US into formally asking for Snowden to be returned (they signed the treaty and would have to abide by it), and gracefully say "NO" to the treaty obligations. This would trigger a major US-Germany failure in relations....likely trigger some massive retaliatory measure by the US on Germany, which Germany would retaliate back.....and then US military forces would be removed.
The German news media will not touch this agenda item....knowing full well that Snowden's arrival in Germany and his permanent status there....would cause massive rifts and problems over the next year or two.
So, what happens now? It's summer in Germany, and most all political figures are on vacation for six-odd weeks. The news media? They will do one big interview per week for the state-run TV folks....just to spill some strategy over the next twelve months. Someone from the SPD and Greens....will throw out a five-minute commentary over Snowden and why bringing him to Germany is priority number one. At best....maybe twenty percent of the adult population will watch the interview. They will side with the political figure because the journalist sitting there will never ask the next question over the US treaty in effect and why Germany might be punished by this change in posture.
Snowden? Maybe he ends up in Germany. Maybe Germany is one step better than Moscow. Maybe he can rig up some insight or evidence to show value in his formal hearing once he arrives in Berlin. Maybe life will be better under these circumstances. And if not? It's hard to imagine a young Snowden spending the rest of his life in Moscow, and relying on the KGB to always protect him. I'd suspect his reasoning is.....anywhere other than Moscow....is better in the end.