The former CIA employee and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden (37) has been granted permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer announced on Thursday.
The man expressed his desire to return to the United States where he is considered a criminal and a threat to homeland security due to his revelation. Snowden is wanted in the United States on espionage charges after he revealed details on the surveillance apparatus used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect telephone records of millions of US citizens.
According to his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s residency permit was extended as the result of recent changes introduced to Russia’s immigration law. The residency permit and is now indefinite, as reported by AFP press.
“Kucherena said it was “natural” that Snowden wanted to return to the United States but will only do so when the case against him is closed.” reported AFP.
The application was filed in April, but the decision of the Russian authorities was made public only this week due to a delay in the process caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It is not clear if Snowden plans to apply for Russian citizenship.
Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump announced that he was evaluating the possibility of pardoning Snowden but he did not provide further details on the case.
In 2015 the White House rejected a petition calling on then-president Barack Obama to pardon the popular US whistleblower.
In September 2019, the US DoJ filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden to prevent the former CIA employee and National Security Agency contractor from receiving the payment for his book, Permanent Record.
According to the civil lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, Snowden violated non-disclosure agreements signed when he was an employee at the US intelligence agencies.
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Snowden)