Snowden for ARD: NSA Engaged in Industrial Espionage
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has alleged the National Security Agency engaged in industrial espionage.
In an interview with Germany's ARD TV channel, the former NSA contractor said the agency would spy on big German companies that competed with US firms.
The U.S. National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will grab any intelligence it can get its hands on regardless of its value to national security, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden told the German TV network.
Referring to the German engineering company Siemens, Mr Snowden told ARD:
"If there is information at Siemens that they [the NSA] think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they'll take it."
Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum by Russia, also said he believed that US officials wanted to kill him.
Snowden also told the German public broadcasting network he no longer has possession of any documents or information on NSA activities and has turned everything he had over to select journalists.
He said he did not have any control over the publication of the information, ARD said.
His leaks caused outrage in Germany when it came to light Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone had been bugged.
After the row broke out last year, Merkel accused the US of an unacceptable breach of trust.
Last week President Barack Obama indicated to Germany's ZDF TV that US bugging of Mrs Merkel's mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again.
He also said he believed US agents want to kill him, referring to an article published by the Buzzfeed website in which intelligence operatives are quoted as saying they want to see him dead.
In August Russia granted Snowden asylum for one year, after he leaked details of US electronic surveillance programmes.
The US has charged Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.
Each of the charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Earlier this week he said he has "no chance" of a fair trial in the US and has no plans to return there.
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