Edward Snowden swears allegiance to Russia, gets passport
Snowden, 39, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked information on mass surveillance programs and is wanted by the United States on espionage charges, voiced his gratitude to the Kremlin for granting him citizenship, per his lawyer.
It is not clear when Snowden swore the oath of allegiance, but his lawyer said he received his passport on Thursday.
“Edward received a Russian passport yesterday and took the oath in accordance with the law,” attorney Anatoly Kucherena said, according to a translation from Russia’s Interfax news agency. “He is, of course, happy, thanking the Russian Federation for the fact that he received citizenship.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously issued a decree granting the U.S.-born dissident Russian citizenship. Under the Constitution of Russia, Snowden “can no longer be extradited to a foreign state,” Kucherena noted.
“I’m in Russia because the White House intentionally canceled my passport to trap me here. They *downed the President of Bolivia’s diplomatic aircraft* to prevent me from leaving, and continue to interfere with my freedom of movement to this day. In case that was unclear,” Snowden tweeted.
In 2013, Snowden rocked the U.S. by leaking highly classified information about mass surveillance programs run by the U.S. and some of its allies, including initiatives that had been established after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He railed against those programs as an infringement upon individual privacy, and governments quickly took steps to prevent future leaks.
Critics of Snowden have pointed to his time in Russia, whose ruler has been notorious for targeting his political opponents and quashing dissenters within Russia. He had been given asylum in Russia in 2013.
In taking the oath, he pledged to “protect the freedom and independence of the Russian Federation, to be loyal to Russia, to respect its culture, history, and traditions,” and to “perform the duties of a citizen of the Russian Federation for the good of the state and society,” the Washington Post reported.
Snowden’s wife, Lindsay Mills, is also in the process of applying for Russian citizenship, and his children will likely attend Russian school, according to his lawyer. They have two children.
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Original Author: Ryan King
Original Location: Edward Snowden swears allegiance to Russia, gets passport