EU Parliament approved Snowden Video link Q&A

EU LogoThe European Parliament approved plans to hear whistleblower Edward Snowden, whose revelations about US snooping on EU leaders sparked uproar.

According to Daily Morning star,  from London – the Parliament’s civil liberties committee voted 36 to 2 to quiz Mr Snowden via an interactive video link from Russia, where he has found temporary asylum.

Reports based on Mr Snowden’s leaked files have shown that the US – abetted by Britain – runs a huge global spy system snooping on internet and telephone systems.

Many MEPs have demanded Brussels takes a hard line with Washington, threatening the suspension of talks on an EU-US free trade deal to drive the point home.

But right-wingers in the parliament claim Mr Snowden has harmed ties with the US and demanded an interactive session with questions rather than letting him make a simple statement.

“Snowden has endangered lives,” claimed European Conservatives and Reformists Group spokesman Timothy Kirkhope MEP.

“The committee was clear that if Snowden is not willing to appear in an interactive session then the evidence must not go ahead,” Mr Kirkhope said, adding he doubted if the hearing would “ever happen.”

Parliamentary sources said Mr Snowden and his lawyers have already received an invitation but so far have not given a response.

Meanwhile US President Barack Obama met his spy chiefs as he finalised a decision on how to control and monitor his spooks.

The meeting included CIA chief John Brennan, National Intelligence director James Clapper, NSA head General Keith Alexander and Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

Mr Obama was joined in the talks by Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder.

A review panel tasked by Mr Obama with looking at reforms of the intelligence community came up with 46 recommendations in a report issued in December, among them scaling back NSA activities to restore public trust.

The report included calls to end the agency’s power to collect and store US citizens’ phone records.

It also called for curbs on the NSA right to ask technology firms to insert back doors to software that allow it to access encrypted communications.

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