American whistleblower Snowden received a Russian passport – TASS – SABC News

Former US intelligence agent Edward Snowden, who revealed the scale of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) secret surveillance, has sworn allegiance to Russia and received a Russian passport, TASS reported on Friday.

“To receive [a passport]he took an oath,” Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s lawyer, told state news agency TASS.

Snowden, 39, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the report.

“This is still a matter of criminal investigation,” White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday, referring all questions about the Snowden report to the U.S. Justice Department, which declined to comment.

US authorities have for years wanted Snowden returned to the United States to face a criminal trial on espionage charges.

In September, President Vladimir Putin granted Russian citizenship to Snowden, who fled the United States after the leak of classified files revealing the extensive wiretapping activities of the United States and its allies.

Snowden’s defenders have hailed him as a modern-day dissident for exposing the scale of US spying.

Opponents say he is a traitor who endangered lives by exposing the secret methods Western spies use to spy on enemy states and fighters.

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