By Julian Pecquet - 07/01/13 03:43 PM EDT
A leader of Germany's Green Party said Monday the European Union should offer asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Green Party parliamentary leader Jürgen Trittin said Snowden's revelations about U.S. spying have “done Europe a service.”
The Green Party is in the opposition in Germany, so Trittin's call for asylum is likely to go unheeded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trittin told Germany's ARD public television that it was “embarrassing” that someone like Snowden “who served the cause of democracy, who uncovered a major violation of fundamental rights, has to hunker down with despots who are at war with fundamental rights,” reports The Local, an English-language German news site. “I am of the opinion that such a person should be protected," he said, when asked whether Snowden should be granted asylum.
Merkel's office said she would “soon” address the issue with Obama, who is on a tour of Africa.
Secretary of State John Kerry downplayed the latest allegations on Monday, saying spying between allies is “not unusual.”
Snowden remains in the transit zone of the Moscow airport after fleeing Hong Kong last weekend. He has asked at least 15 countries for asylum, according to a Russian official quoted by The Los Angeles Times.
Ecuador is one of the countries considering his request. Vice President Biden recently called President Rafael Correa to warn him of the damage to trade and other relations with the United States if Ecuador grants Snowden asylum.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday Snowden could stay in the country as long as he stops leaking information that's damaging to the NSA.
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