Putin grants Russian citizenship to US whistleblower, Edward Snowden

Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked extensive US intelligence surveillance operations, has been granted Russian citizenship.

The decree was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Snowden, 39, has been living in exile in Russia since exposing the National Security Agency (NSA) programme affecting millions of Americans in 2013.

Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the US, has made no public comments.

In 2020, the NSA surveillance of millions of Americans’ telephone records was ruled unlawful by the US Court of Appeals.

Snowden said afterwards that he felt vindicated by the ruling.

Top US intelligence officials had publicly insisted the NSA had never knowingly collected data from private phone records until Snowden exposed evidence to the contrary.

Following the revelation, officials said the NSA’s surveillance program had played a crucial role in fighting domestic terrorism, including the convictions of Basaaly Saeed Moalin, Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, Mohamed Mohamud, and Issa Doreh, of San Diego, for providing aid to al-Shabab militants in Somalia.


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