Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who leaked information about U.S. surveillance programs, swore an oath of allegiance to Russia and has collected his Russian passport, his lawyer told state media on Friday.
“Edward received a Russian passport yesterday and took the oath in accordance with the law,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency. “He is, of course, happy, thanking the Russian Federation for the fact that he received citizenship,” he continued. “And most importantly, under the Constitution of Russia, he can no longer be extradited to a foreign state.”
Snowden, 39, is wanted by Washington on espionage charges. He argues that his actions were in the interests of the United States. In any case, his revelations exposed the breadth of U.S. digital spying programs and altered the public’s understanding of technology, privacy and digital security.
It’s unclear whether Snowden swore the oath of allegiance at the same time as he was granted a passport, but the two are common procedures when foreigners become Russian citizens. The text includes swearing “to protect the freedom and independence of the Russian Federation, to be loyal to Russia, to respect its culture, history and traditions,” and to promise to “perform the duties of a citizen of the Russian Federation for the good of the state and society.” [Continue reading…]