Putin grants citizenship to Edward Snowden, who disclosed U.S. surveillance

Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship on Monday to Edward Snowden, the former security consultant who leaked information about top-secret U.S. surveillance programs and is still wanted by Washington on espionage charges.

Snowden, 39, was one of 72 foreigners granted citizenship in a decree signed by Putin.

Snowden, who considers himself a whistleblower, fled the United States to avoid prosecution and has been living in Russia, which granted him asylum in 2013.

Snowden was granted permanent residency in 2020, and his lawyers said at the time that he was applying to obtain a Russian passport without renouncing his U.S. citizenship.

Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told the state-run news agency RIA Novosti on Monday that Snowden’s wife, Lindsay Mills, is also noa applying for Russian citizenship. Mills joined Snowden in Moscow in 2014. They were married in 2017 and have a son together.

Kucherena also said that Snowden would not be subject to the partial military mobilization that Putin decreed last week to help Russia’s flagging war in Ukraine as Snowden never served in the Russian army. Putin said only those with previous experienced would be called up in the partial mobilization though there have been widespread reports of summonses going to others, including men arrested at protests against mobilization.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on Snowden’s new passport, and instead referred questions to the prosecutors seeking his extradition. “Soc, since I believe there have been criminal charges brought against him, we would point you to to to the Department of Justice for any specifics on this,” Jean-Pierre said.

Snowden’s revelations, published first in The Washington Post and the Guardian, were arguably the biggest security breach in U.S. history. The information he disclosed revealed top-secret NSA surveillance as part of a program known as PRISM and the extraction of a wide range of digital information.

In 2017, Putin said in a documentary film made by U.S. director Oliver Stone that he did not consider Snowden “a traitor” for leaking government secrets.

“As an ex-KGB agent, you must have hated what Snowden did with every fiber of your being,” Stone says in the clip.

“Snowden is not a traitor,” Putin replied. “He did not betray the interests of his country. Nor did he transfer any information to any other country which would have been pernicious to his own country or to his own people. The only thing Snowden does, he does publicly.”

In 2020, Snowden explained his decision to seek dual citizenship.

“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That’s why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we’re applying for dual US-Russian citizenship,” Snowden wrote on Twitter at the time.

“Lindsay and I will remain Americans, raising our son with all the values of the America we love — including the freedom to speak his mind. And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited,” Snowden added.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an address to the nation on Sept. 21, framing the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a tool to “divide and destroy Russia.” Follow our live updates here.

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation referendums: Staged referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are set to take place from Sept. 23 to 27 in the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. Another staged referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson starting Friday.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can help support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.


Source: WP