By Lois Barker
Sub Edited by Jasmine Wing
Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden announced on Twitter that he is applying for Russian citizenship.
Snowden, who fled Russia after leaking classified documents in 2013 which revealed the NSA’s extensive domestic and foreign internet and phone surveillance, is expecting his first child with his wife.
“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son,” Snowden tweeted. “That’s why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we’re applying for dual US-Russian 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. https://t.co/cCgT0rr37e
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 1, 2020
The move comes just two weeks after Snowden’s lawyer said that he had been granted permanent residency in Russia.
“Lindsay and I will remain American, raising our son with all the values of America we love – including the freedom to speak his mind,” Snowden said, “I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited.”
Snowden has previously said he would be happy to leave Russia for France, having applied for asylum in the country under former President François Hollande.
U.S. prosecutors charged Snowden with three felonies in 2013: conveying classified information to an unauthorised party, disclosing communication intelligence information and theft of government property.
Who Is Edward Snowden?
Edward Snowden is a 31-year-old US citizen, former Intelligence Community officer and whistleblower. The documents he revealed provided a vital public window into the NSA and its international intelligence partners’ secret mass surveillance programs and capabilities. These revelations generated unprecedented attention around the world on privacy intrusions and digital security, leading to a global debate on the issue.
Snowden worked in various roles within the US Intelligence Community, including serving undercover for the CIA overseas. He most recently worked as an infrastructure analyst at the NSA, through a Booz Allen Hamilton contract, when he left his home and family in Hawaii to blow the whistle in May 2013. After travelling to Hong Kong, Snowden revealed documents to the American public on the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, which were shown to be operating without any public oversight and outside the limits of the US Constitution. The US government has charged Snowden with theft of government property, and two further charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. Each charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
With the US pursuing his extradition, Snowden is now in Russia, where he was formally granted three years’ residency from 1 August 2014, after a year of temporary asylum in Russia ended on 31st July 2014. Journalists continue to publish documents from Snowden that reveal the secret and unaccountable systems of modern global surveillance.
For more information on Snowden visit his site here.