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Russian Parliament Invites Snowden to Investigate Spying Claims

RIA Novosti

22:25 27/06/2013 MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s parliament on Thursday extended an invitation to fugitive ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden to help investigate whether American Internet firms provided information about Russian citizens to the US government.

Snowden, a former contractor for the US National Security Agency, is wanted by the United States for disclosing a top-secret surveillance program that allegedly targeted millions of Americans. He is reportedly in Moscow.

“We invite Edward Snowden to work with us and hope that as soon as he settles his legal status, he will collaborate with our working group and provide us with proof of US intelligences agencies’ access to the servers of Internet firms,” Senator Ruslan Gattarov said Thursday, a day after Russia’s upper house of parliament decided to set up a special working group to investigate Snowden’s claims.

Gattarov, appointed to lead the group, told RIA Novosti that it would incorporate legislators, diplomats, prosecutors and communications officials. Preliminary results of the investigation should be made public in October.

Meanwhile, a member of President Vladimir Putin’s Human Rights Council, Kirill Kabanov, has said he asked his colleagues to consider asking the Russian government to grant political asylum to Snowden. The council’s chairman, Mikhail Fedotov, said the request would be considered and put to a vote.

The foreign minister of Ecuador earlier said Snowden, whose US passport has been canceled, had requested political asylum in his country. On Wednesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was quoted as saying that Snowden was “almost sure” to get political asylum in his country if he filed a formal request.

US President Barack Obama said Thursday that the United States would not engage in “wheeling and dealing” to win Snowden’s extradition.

Snowden reportedly took a plane from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday. After two days of intense media speculation about his whereabouts, Putin said Tuesday that Snowden was in Moscow in an unspecified transit area, presumably at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, and that Russia was under no legal obligation to hand him over to the United States.

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