Putin Grants Edward Snowden Russian Citizenship
Umer Jamshaid Published September 27, 2022 | 09:40 AM
Moscow, Sept 26 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 27th Sep, 2022 ) :President Vladimir Putin on Monday granted Russian citizenship to US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who exposed massive surveillance by the US National Security Agency on Americans and then sought refuge in Russia.
A presidential decree published Monday included Snowden on a list of newly-minted Russian citizens, at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow are at historic lows over the conflict in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told news agencies that Snowden had received Russian citizenship as a result of his own request, made in 2020 to make it easier for his American wife Lindsay Mills to travel back and forth.
"After two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family," he said.
The former American intelligence contractor, 39, leaked secret documents to media outlets in 2013 revealing that the NSA was collecting massive amounts of communications metadata and other information on US citizens, in violation of their constitutional right to privacy.
The expose of the NSA's secret spying program led to laws and regulations forbidding that activity.
Three years later they had a son, and Snowden said he would seek Russian citizenship to make it easier for his family to be together, especially given the travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But he said he wanted to keep his US nationality.
And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited," he said at the time.
The couple had a second son earlier this year.
After he sought refuge in Russia, the US Justice Department filed a criminal complaint with three felony charges against Snowden: theft of government property, disclosing crucial US defense information, and providing classified materials to unauthorized persons.