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Putin grants Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden

In this image made from video and released by WikiLeaks, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks in Moscow in 2013.
Updated September 26, 2022 at 1:10 PM ET

MOSCOW — Former National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship. The news was confirmed in a decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin posted Monday to the Kremlin's website.

Snowden first arrived in Russia in 2013 after leaking secret files that revealed a vast web of domestic and international surveillance by the U.S. government. The Kremlin subsequently granted him asylum, even as the U.S. pursued espionage charges.

In 2020, Snowden announced he and his wife had applied for Russian citizenship as they were expecting their first child during the pandemic.

The whistleblower has maintained — and defended — his silence over the Kremlin's recent actions in Ukraine, saying his views were no longer "useful" after he wrongly insisted U.S. intelligence was flawed in predicting a Russian attack on its neighbor.

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