Snowden: NSA was involved in industrial espionage

Edward Snowden, who faces a raft of charges in the US, was granted a year's asylum by Russia last August. Credit: Reuters

US whistleblower Edward Snowden has alleged the National Security Agency went beyond its brief to spy on German companies that were rivalling American firms.

The intelligence leaker, who has been granted a year's asylum by Russia, made the claims in an interview with German television channel ARD.

Mr Snowden said: "If there is information at (German engineering firm) Siemens that (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."

Mr Snowden also said during the interview that he believed US officials wanted to kill him after his series of leaks exposed a wide scope of security practices, including the bugging of international leaders' phones.