Germany would rather see Edward Snowden return home than have him on their turf.
The country's justice minister Heiko Maas said in an interview Tuesday that the former NSA contractor should strike a deal with U.S. authorities to return. Snowden, Maas said, "surely doesn't want to spend the rest of his life being hunted... or wandering from one asylum to the next."
Snowden's next steps remain up in the air, as his asylum in Russia expires July 31. Though the whistleblower has support in Germany from opposition parties who have demanded the country's leaders allow Snowden to testify in Berlin on the extent of U.S. surveillance, Germany is intent on maintaining its relationship with the U.S, despite the instances of U.S. spying.
But Germany, it seems, would rather maintain the relationship between its government and the U.S.'s, despite the instances of U.S. spying. Earlier this month, the country found that two people have spied on Germany for the U.S.—one was a German intelligence double agent, the other a German army officer—and in response, the country expelled the CIA contact stationed in Berlin. German paper Der Spiegel also reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone had been bugged by U.S. intelligence.
The White House, in response, issued a statement in October to underline its relationship with the country:
The United States greatly values our close cooperation with Germany on a broad range of shared security challenges. As the President has said, the United States is reviewing the way that we gather intelligence to ensure that we properly balance the security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share.
Both leaders agreed to intensify further the cooperation between our intelligence services with the goal of protecting the security of both countries and of our partners, as well as protecting the privacy of our citizens.
Ultimately, Maas' recommendation matches what Snowden has said he wants. In his interview with Brian Williams in May, Snowden said, "I don't think there's ever been any question that I'd like to go home."