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Head of German Parliament's NSA inquiry panel quits in argument over Snowden testimony

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BERLIN — The head of a German parliamentary inquiry into surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency has resigned, citing tensions over whether to seek testimony from NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

All four parties in Germany's lower house, the Bundestag, agreed last month to launch the inquiry into the scope of spying on Germans' communications by the U.S. and its allies, including the alleged monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone.

Opposition lawmakers said Snowden would be a key witness, despite the difficulties of seeking testimony. But panel chairman Clemens Binninger, a member of Merkel's party, said he was skeptical about whether Snowden could help.

He complained that the opposition wants to focus the panel's work "exclusively on questioning Edward Snowden." Binninger will be replaced by Patrick Sensburg, also from Merkel's party.

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