Russia Grants Citizenship to Whistleblower Wanted by the US

Many Americans think Edward Snowden is a criminal. However, there are others who think what he did do took courage. They envision Snowden as a hero who exposed corruption within the U.S.’s highest levels of intelligence.

Regardless, Snowden is someone who the United States federal government would like to put on trial. Possibly the biggest thing Edward Snowden is guilty of is exposing U.S. intelligence operations. Some insist his acts put U.S. national security at risk.

Snowden revealed that The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on Americans. Only a court of law should determine if Snowden broke the law in exposing this clandestine operation. A number of people believe he exposed corruption.

To these people, Edward Snowden is a hero. Well, in the eyes of one world leader, Snowden is a sort of hero as well. Of course, anyone who riddles with U.S. intelligence is going to be welcome at Vladimir Putin’s dinner table.

In fact, when you rip the veil off a supposedly corrupt part of the U.S. government, Putin thinks you should jump over to his team. That’s exactly what’s happened. Russia’s president has extended full Russian citizenship to the former NSA contractor.

Snowden has been “holed up in Russia” since he fled the United States in 2013. But beyond being able to avoid extradition to the U.S. to stand trial, Snowden is now a full-fledged citizen of the Russian Republic. This places a whole new realm of protection around him.

Snowden isn’t the only nefarious foreign national whom Putin has granted citizenship. Some estimate that Putin has extended the hand of Russian citizenship to more than 75 foreign nationals.

While Snowden was granted permanent Russian residency in 2020, this adds a thicker blanket of protection. But is Putin looking for something more? Does Snowden have critical information about how the U.S. conducts foreign intelligence operations?

Could this information be useful if Russia finds itself in direct conflict with the US? But Snowden has said on multiple occasions that he has not and will not discuss U.S. intelligence with anyone from the Russian government.

In 2019, Snowden told NPR, “I didn’t cooperate with the Russian intelligence services, I haven’t, and I won’t.” The former NSA contractor also insisted that he would entertain returning to the United States if he could be guaranteed a fair trial.

That never transpired, and with these new developments, that seems rather unlikely. While Putin didn’t condone Snowden’s actions, he also didn’t believe he was a traitor. Certainly, this weighed heavily on the Russian president’s decision to grant citizenship.

Apparently, Snowden’s wife, Lindsey Mills, will also apply for citizenship. People have different views about Edward Snowden. He’s condemned as a traitor and hailed as a hero. Snowden has never been afforded an actual trial to prove either.

The call for him to answer for his actions seems long-since, something that will not happen. Once a U.S. citizen, and subject to U.S. laws and jurisdiction, there was some hope he might. However, Edward Snowden is now “comrade Snowden”, so that seems increasingly unlikely.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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