Edward Snowden should return to US to face 'justice': State Dept
The US, through its State Department, is after whosoever exposes US foreign policies.
Former US intelligence contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who just obtained Russian citizenship, should return to the United States to face justice, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday.
"Our position has not changed. Mr. Snowden should return to the United States where he should face justice as any other American citizen would," Price said during a press briefing.
On her part, White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on Russia granting citizenship to former US intelligence contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, which came at his request.
"Since, I believe, there have been criminal charges brought against him, we would point you to the Department of Justice for any specifics on this," Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing.
Putin grants Snowden citizenship
Former US intelligence contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information on digital surveillance programs, received Russian citizenship, according to a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"In accordance with paragraph 'a' of Article 89 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, I decide: to accept the following persons in the citizenship of the Russian Federation: Edward Joseph Snowden, born June 21, 1983, in the United States of America," the decree said.
On his part, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Sputnik that Russian citizenship was granted to Edward Snowden at his request,
"Of course," Peskov said, answering the relevant question.
It is worth noting that Snowden did not serve in the Russian army, so he will not be called up for partial mobilization, Snowden's lawyer in Russia, Anatoly Kucherena, told Sputnik.
"He did not serve in the Russian army, therefore, according to our current legislation, he does not fall into this category of citizens, which is now called up. You know that now they are calling up reservists who have served and have the appropriate specialty. And then he will act according to the law, as everything is provided for in Russian legislation," Kucherena said.
Snowden's wife will also soon apply for Russian citizenship, Kucherena added.
According to the lawyer, Snowden's daughter, who was born in Russia, received Russian citizenship by birth.
Who is Snowden?
Snowden is a former US National Security Agency official who leaked details of US intelligence's extensive internet and phone surveillance to media outlets including The Washington Post and Britain’s The Guardian in early June 2013.
Simultaneously, Snowden left the US for Hong Kong and then to Russia where he was granted temporary asylum.
Then, Russia gave Snowden permission to remain in the country for three more years. Later, the permit was extended until 2020.
On March 18, 2021, Snowden's lawyer announced that the documents required for his client to obtain Russian citizenship were ready, expressing Snowden’s intention to submit them to concerned authorities as soon as possible.
The US charged Snowden with theft, "unauthorized communication of national defense information," and "willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person." The last two charges were filed in accordance with the 1917 Espionage Act.
It is worth noting that on January 20, 2021, the list of pardons signed by former US President Donald Trump before leaving the White House did not include Edward Snowden or Julian Assange -- the founder of WikiLeaks.