Russian citizen Snowden received a passport. Last Minute EUROPE, CURRENT, Russian news and events

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Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency official who leaked extensive confidential documents about America’s domestic and international surveillance operations 9 years ago, took an oath of citizenship and received a Russian passport.

“Yes, he took his passport back, he took an oath,” Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told the Russian state news agency TASS. Snowden, 39, has yet to comment on the matter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Russian citizenship to Snowden, who fled the United States in September after he leaked classified files that exposed a widespread wiretap by the United States and its allies.

Snowden’s defenders see him as a modern-day adversary for exposing the extent of US espionage. His detractors say Snowden is a traitor who risked his life exposing secret methods used by Western spies to spy on enemy states and militants.

Putin, who is a former head of Russian intelligence, said in a 2017 statement that Snowden, living in Russia unnoticed, was wrong to reveal the secrets of the United States, but he was not a traitor.

Permanent residence permit issued in 2020

Russia granted Snowden a residence permit in 2020, paving the way for Russian citizenship.

That same year, a US Court of Appeals ruled that the program Snowden disclosed was illegal and that the intelligence chiefs who defended the program were lying.

His lawyer Kucherena said that Snowden’s wife Lindsey Mills, with whom she has a son, will also apply for citizenship in 2020.

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