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Putin Grants Russian citizenship to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden


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Putin grants Russian citizenship to former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden

Sep 26 2022 | Amanda Macias

  • Putin granted citizenship on Monday to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
  • Snowden, 39, fled to Russia to evade federal prosecution after leaking classified documents to journalists.
  • He was granted asylum in Russia in 2013 and later permanent residency. He has remained in Russia ever since.

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WASHINGTON — Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship on Monday to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s name appears as one of approximately 70 foreign nationals listed in a decree and approved by Putin for Russian citizenship.

The former NSA intelligence officer turned U.S. government whistleblower, fled to Hong Kong and later to Russia in to evade federal prosecution after leaking classified documents to journalists. He was granted asylum in Russia in 2013 and later permanent residency. Snowden, 39, has remained in Russia ever since.

Putin’s decision to grant Snowden citizenship comes just days after ordering approximately 300,000 people to join the fight in Ukraine.

The subsequent news reports from more than 7,000 classified documents revealed the inner workings of a colossal U.S. government surveillance operation. Intelligence officials have previously said that Snowden may have taken 1.7 million classified files.

Stories published in The Guardian and The Washington Post exposed a vast government-run spy program that monitored communications of criminals, potential terrorists and law-abiding citizens alike. Other accounts documented how Washington also secretly monitored some of America’s closest allies, like then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Snowden was charged with theft of U.S. government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence. The charges carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that Washington’s position on the former U.S. intelligence contractor has not changed. He added that he was not aware of any change to Snowden’s American citizenship status.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/26/putin-grants-russian-citizenship-to-whistleblower-edward-snowden.html

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Snowden later issued a message, essentially an updated version of a November 2020 tweet, saying he wanted his family to remain together and asking for privacy.

"After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our SONS," the tweet read.

"After two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family. I pray for privacy for them - and for us all."

The new tweet made no reference to the Kremlin leader's decree, but it was attached to a 2020 Twitter thread in which Snowden said he and his family were applying for dual US-Russian citizenship.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/putin-grants-russian-citizenship-us-whistleblower-snowden-2966826

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