NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has reportedly revealed that the US intelligence agency allegedly engaged in 'industrial espionage' to snoop on trade secrets of competing foreign firms.
The 30-year-old former NSA contractor said that the agency would spy on big German companies that competed with US firms.
According to the BBC, Snowden believes that US official wanted to kill him for leaking what is said to be a biggest exposé of a government's indiscriminate mass surveillance activities on innocent citizens.
In his interview with Germany's ARD TV Channel, Snowden, referring to the German engineering company Siemens, said that if there is information at Siemens that the NSA think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the US, they will go after that information and they'll take it.
The revelations made by Snowden also pointed to snooping on global leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had been so upset with the claim that she cancelled her meeting with US president Barack Obama and called the activity a 'serious breach of trust'.
However, last week while announcing changes to the NSA's snooping activities, Obama had acknowledged that US bugging of Merkel's mobile phone had been a mistake and would not happen again.
Snowden has been charged with espionage by the US and is currently under a temporary asylum in Russia.
The whistleblower has ruled out any possibility of having a fair trial in the US under current laws and each of the charge against him carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.