Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who fled prosecution after revealing highly classified surveillance programmes, has received a Russian passport and taken the citizenship oath, according to Russian news agencies.
Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena was reported as saying that Snowden got the passport and took the oath on Thursday, about three months after Russian President Vladimir Putin granted him citizenship.
The reports did not specify whether Snowden has renounced his US citizenship. The United States revoked his passport in 2013, leading to Snowden being stranded in a Moscow airport for weeks after arriving from Hong Kong, aiming to reach Ecuador.
Russia eventually granted him permanent residency. He married American Lindsay Mills in 2017 and they have two children.
Snowden leaked documents on the National Security Agency’s collection of data passing through the infrastructure of US phone and internet companies. He also released details about the classified US intelligence budget and the extent of American surveillance on foreign officials, including the leaders of US-allied countries.
Snowden says he made the disclosures because he believed the US intelligence community had gone too far and infringed civil liberties.