- BBC Panorama/screenshot
Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed a massive domestic spying apparatus in the US by leaking stolen documents as he fled to China and Russia, may soon be on the path to Russian citizenship.
Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s Russian lawyer, told RIA Novosti news agency that Snowden’s permit to remain in Russia had been extended by three years, and that next year he could apply for Russian citizenship, The Guardian reports.
Snowden remains in contact with Russian intelligence services, according to the Associated Press, and has been a vocal supporter of WikiLeaks, which itself is linked to Russia.
On Tuesday, when Chelsea Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst and fellow WikiLeaks whistleblower had her sentence commuted by Obama, White House spokesperson John Earnest said the following of Snowden’s case:
“Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
In light of this stance, it seems unlikely that Obama, or any US president, would consider pardoning Snowden until he returns to the US to face charges as Manning did.