US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who had exposed massive surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA), has been granted Russian citizenship. Snowden, 39, had fled the United States in 2013 after leaking secret files and was given asylum in Russia
A decree signed on Monday (September 26) by Russian President Vladimir Putin listed Snowden as one of 75 foreign citizens listed as being granted Russian citizenship, reported AP.
Why was he granted Russian citizenship? Since he left the US in 2013, Snowden has been living in exile in Russia. Few years ago, Russia relaxed its citizenship laws to allow individuals to hold Russian passports without rejecting their original nationalities.
What did Snowden say? Snowden said that after years of separation from his parents, his wife and he have no desire to be separated from their sons. "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," Snowden tweeted on Monday.
After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our SONS.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 26, 2022
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. https://t.co/24NUK21TAo pic.twitter.com/qLfp47uzZ4
What info did Snowden leak? The former American intelligence contractor in 2013 had revealed that the US government was spying on its citizens and had said that the US intelligence community had gone too far and wrongly infringed on civil liberties.
Snowden leaked documents on the NSA's collection of data passing through the infrastructure of US phone and internet companies and he also released details about the classified US intelligence budget and the extent of American surveillance on foreign officials, reported AP.
How did the US respond? His passport was revoked as soon as it was revealed that he had leaked secret documents. US authorities have for years wanted Snowden returned to the country to face a criminal trial on espionage charges.
The intelligence officials have accused him of putting US personnel at risk and damaging national security.