News ID: 324306
Published: 0239 GMT September 27, 2022

Putin grants Russian citizenship to U.S. whistleblower Snowden

Putin grants Russian citizenship to U.S. whistleblower Snowden

Edward Snowden

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree granting citizenship to Snowden, 39, the former U.S. intelligence contractor who was granted asylum in Moscow after he leaked secret files in 2013 that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the National Security Agency.

U.S. authorities have for years wanted Snowden to be returned to the U.S. to face a criminal trial on espionage charges. Snowden said in 2019 that he was willing to return to the U.S. if he was guaranteed a fair trial. NBC News reported.

Among Snowden's revelations were the NSA’s bulk collection of phone and internet metadata from U.S. users, its spying on the personal communications of foreign leaders, including U.S. allies, and its ability to tap undersea fiber optic cables and siphon off data.

Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti that Snowden’s wife, Lindsay Mills, an American who has been living with him in Russia, will also apply for a Russian passport. The couple had a child in December 2020.

Snowden is a former systems administrator for the CIA who later went to work for the private intelligence contractor Dell, first in an NSA outpost in Japan and then in an NSA station in Hawaii. In early 2013, he went to work for the contractor Booz Allen Hamilton in the same NSA center in Hawaii.

While he was working for the contractors, he began downloading secret documents related to U.S. intelligence activities and partnerships with foreign allies, some of which revealed the extent of data collection from U.S. telephone records and internet activity.




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