U.S. whistleblower Snowden gets a Russian passport - TASS


FILE PHOTO: Former contractor of U.S. National Security Agency Edward Snowden is seen on a screen during his interview presented via video link at the New Knowledge educational online forum in Moscow, Russia September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Olesya Astakhova/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who exposed the scale of secret surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA), has sworn an oath of allegiance to Russia and received a Russian passport, TASS reported on Friday.

"Yes, he got [a passport], he took the oath," Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden's lawyer, told the state news agency TASS.

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

President Vladimir Putin in September granted Russian citizenship to Snowden, who fled the United States after leaking secret files that revealed the extensive eavesdropping activities of the United States and its allies.

Defenders of Snowden hail him as a modern day dissident for exposing the extent of U.S. spying. Opponents say he is a traitor who endangered lives by exposing the secret methods that Western spies use to listen in on hostile states and militants.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge: Editing by Nick Macfie)

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