Lee Heidhues 9.26.2022
It’s easy today to condemn Edward Snowden for abdicating his American citizenship and becoming a Russian citizen.
Do I applaud his Decision? NO. Do I understand why he made it? YES.
People have forgotten how it came to this point. Snowden, the one time National Security Agency (NSA) computer intelligence consultant, in 2013 leaked highly classified information exposing global surveillance programs of the American government.
Edward Snowden faced the prospect of spending the rest of his life in an American prison. Had Snowden gone to most any other nation the American government would have sought his immediate extradition. Like Julian Assange, now incarcerated in a British prison and awaiting possible extradition, Edward Snowden faced a similar fate.
Snowden will now have to live with his Decision to become a citizen of Putin’s Russia.
Excerpted from The Guardian 9.26.2022
Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday granting Russian citizenship to the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Snowden, 39, a former US intelligence contractor, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the US after leaking secret files, published by the Guardian, that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the US National Security Agency.
In 2020, Snowden said that he and his then-pregnant wife were applying for Russian citizenship in order not to be separated from their future son in an era of pandemics and closed borders. Russia granted him permanent residency rights the same year, paving the way for him to obtain Russian citizenship.
The whistleblower largely keeps a low profile while living in Russia, occasionally posting photographs of his family in Moscow. He has said in 2019 that he was willing to return to the US if he’s guaranteed a fair trial.
Snowden, who has previously criticised Kremlin’s human rights record, has not commented in public about the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Prior to the war, he repeatedly voiced doubts that Russia would start a war, blaming the media for “pushing” the conflict.
“I’ve just lost any confidence I had that sharing my thinking on this particular topic continues to be useful because I called it wrong,” Snowden wrote on Twitter on 27 February, three days after Russia sent its troops to Ukraine.
Wikipedia article on Edward Snowden