The debate on whether or not to call on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to testify in a parliamentary inquiry on the mass surveillance of German citizens by the American government came to an end on Thursday when committee members unanimously voted yes.
Roderich Kiesewetter, the conservative head of the investigative committee, said that a “majority of the committee has decided that we want to hear Mr Snowden”.
With a tentative date set for July 3, the hearing will look into the information leaked by Snowden that revealed a massive collection of phone data from German citizens by the NSA, including the wiretapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone.
What lawmakers haven’t decided on is where the long-awaited hearing will take place. With Snowden still in Russia under asylum, the proposal by Merkel’s grand coalition is to have him answer questions through a video conference. The political opposition on the other hand wants Snowden to testify in person in Germany under the belief that he would be unable to express himself freely on video.
However, bringing Snowden to Germany could create political tensions in an already rock relationship with the United States. An international arrest warrant for Snowden has already been issued that would require Germany to extradite him back to the US if he were to set foot on German ground.