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226 views • September 27, 2022

Putin Grants Russian Citizenship to NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

NTD News
NTD News
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday granted full Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who leaked information about the agency's widespread domestic surveillance operations under the Obama administration. Snowden, 39, fled the United States to Russia in 2013 after he posted secret files that revealed the NSA's operations. U.S. authorities have for years sought to bring Snowden back and arrest him on espionage charges. A presidential decree issued by Putin shows Snowden is one of about 75 foreign nationals who were granted Russian citizenship, reported Russian state-run media. The decree was also published on a Russian government website. The former NSA contractor was granted permanent Russian residency in 2020. Snowden at the time announced he planned to apply for Russian citizenship and would not renounce his American citizenship. In 2020, a U.S. appeals court found the program Snowden had exposed was unlawful and said that U.S. officials who had publicly defended it were not telling the truth. "Will Snowden be drafted?" Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state media outlet RT, wrote with dark humor on her Telegram channel. She was referring to last week's speech from Putin in which the Russian leader said he would partially mobilize his country's forces amid the Ukraine conflict. But Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told the RIA news agency that his client could not be called up because he had not previously served in the Russian army. He said that Snowden's wife Lindsay Mills, who gave birth to a son in 2020, would also apply for citizenship. 'I Didn't Cooperate' Putin, a former Russian KGB official, publicly stated in 2017 that Snowden was wrong to leak intelligence secrets but did not believe him to be a traitor to the United States. Since moving to Russia, Snowden rarely makes remarks on Russian domestic affairs and reportedly keeps a low profile. "I didn't cooperate with the Russian intelligence services—I haven't and I won't," he told NPR in 2019. "I destroyed my access to the archive. ... I had no material with me before I left Hong Kong, because I knew I was going to have to go through this complex multi-jurisdictional route." Snowden in 2019 told news outlets that he was willing to return to the United States if he is guaranteed a fair trial. "People look at me now and they think I'm this crazy guy, I'm this extremist or whatever. Some people have a misconception that [I] set out to burn down the NSA," Snowden added to NPR. "But that's not what this was about. In many ways, 2013 wasn't about surveillance at all. What it was about was a violation of the Constitution." Since then, he's amassed more than 5.3 million followers on Twitter.  There was no immediate reaction from Snowden on social media or elsewhere after he was granted Russian citizenship.
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