Snowden invited to testify in front of European parliament

Former National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden has been invited to testify via video link in front of a European parliament committee as part of an inquiry into US surveillance.

Snowden was the source behind the ongoing spying revelations that have exposed many of the questionable practices of the NSA and other security agencies around the world.

A draft report by Labour MEP Claude Moraes on the NSA surveillance programme has helped lead to hearings held by a committee of MEPs.

The Civil Liberties Committee, led by Moraes, voted 36-2 with one abstention to invite Snowden to give evidence at the inquiry.

One of those apposed to the video link-up with Snowden was Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope.

"I doubt whether this evidence will ever happen," Kirkhope said, according to the BBC. "Instead of acting like a responsible body charged with finding a good balance between lives and liberties, the Civil Liberties Committee continues to act like a school debating society that is oblivious to the risks the West now faces, and the tactics used by our enemies,"

Snowden is currently living in Russia, having been granted temporary asylum there following the spying revelations.

The NSA whistleblower was recently described as an exceptionally gifted genius by a former colleague at the agency.

"That kid was a genius among geniuses," said the employee who wished to remain anonymous. "NSA is full of smart people, but anybody who sat in a meeting with Ed will tell you he was in a class of his own. I've never seen anything like it."

Questions posed to Snowden by the committee might include those related to claims that the NSA recorded phone conversations of 35 world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as revelations that the agency collects records from over five billion phone calls around the world each day.