Edward Snowden

Snowden Announces Plans To Become Russian Citizen

The surveillance whistleblower has a child on the way and little sign a pardon is forthcoming.


Surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden is applying for Russian citizenship in preparation for his son's birth.

Snowden and his wife, Lindsay Mills, revealed the pregnancy last week. Today, Snowden announced that he and Mills are applying for dual citizenship. He tweeted: "Lindsay and I will remain Americans, raising our son with all the values of the America we love—including the freedom to speak his mind. And I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited."

Snowden famously took refuge in Russia, essentially forced there to escape espionage charges from the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama. Snowden pulled the curtain back to expose the vast extent of domestic digital surveillance that the National Security Agency (NSA) had implemented after the passage of the PATRIOT Act. Internet and phone records of millions of Americans were being collected, stored, and accessed without our knowledge, all on the insistence that it would help the government catch terrorists. It did not—not that such a massive end run around the Fourth Amendment would have been acceptable if it had.

Snowden's whistleblowing has led to attempts to reform some surveillance regulations to better protect Americans from unwarranted snooping by the feds. The NSA is supposed to be directing its surveillance to other countries, not to us.

But even though Snowden's leaks have proven valuable information for Americans to know, he's still being treated like a criminal. President Donald Trump flirted with pardoning Snowden, and that garnered the support of the likes of Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.), but on the eve of the election, there's little sign of any actual mercy coming from the embattled incumbent.

As for Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, it was under Obama's Justice Department that Snowden was charged. And Snowden told MSNBC in 2019 that, as veep, Biden threatened countries considering giving Snowden asylum, saying there would be "consequences" if they did. Rafael Correa, Ecuador's former president, said in 2013 (when Snowden leaked the NSA files to the press and fled the country) that Biden called him to ask him not to grant Snowden asylum as he had previously done for WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. There's not much evidence that a Biden administration would grant Snowden a pardon or that Biden's position that Snowden should stand trial has changed.

Snowden was granted permanent residency in Russia in late October. Due to recent changes in Russia's laws, Snowden won't have to give up citizenship as an American to become a Russian citizen. So, in the event that either Trump or Biden changes his mind and pardons Snowden, he'll still be able to return to his home country.

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  1. Maybe this guy did something praiseworthy at one point. But becoming a Russian citizen?! I just cannot support anyone who’s so cozy with America’s greatest enemy.


    1. The 80s called. They want their greatest enemy back.

      1. Ugh. Apparently I need to explain this again.

        Obama’s debate zinger was accurate (and witty!) when he said it. As brilliant as Obama is, he could not possibly have predicted Putin would, within 4 years, emerge as the leading villain on the world stage.


        1. C+. Needs more blaming of Trump.

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    2. He’s in Russia, not communist China.

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    6. He can’t come home. He has to live there. Why not? There are always advantages to being a citizen in the country where you reside.

  2. yes its true .. Nice article from reason

  3. Let’s hope for a Nov 4th pardon regardless of the result of the election

    1. Just days after receiving a pardon and returning to the United States, Snowden committed suicide from two self inflicted gunshot wounds to the back of the head.

      Spooks are ruthless like that

      1. Oh and we cannot forget the suicide note stating he could not live with having been a traitor that went unpunished.

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      2. That’s too hamfisted. Now that he’s got a kid on the way, you just point out how fragile a womb is and how one trip and fall could cause a miscarriage and then namedrop Budd Dwyer.

      3. No shit – he’d be a fool to ever return to this shithole. Bad and getting worse every passing year.

  4. The fact that he even needs a pardon is a fucking joke. Meanwhile, all the people in charge of the BLATANTLY ILLEGAL snooping face absolutely zero consequences. I guess what’s the point of working for the government if you can’t break the law with impunity…

    1. The fact that he even needs a pardon is a fucking joke.

      This can not be stressed enough. What he did was heroic.

      It galls me to see him compared to the likes of Manning.

      1. All imma say is that Chelsea Manning chick has balls.

        1. Unlike a president who won’t pardon Snowden.

        2. Bradley Edward Manning does not have balls, they were surgically removed.
          On October 20, 2018, Manning tweeted a photograph of herself in a hospital bed reportedly recovering from gender reassignment surgery,
          If you mean that metaphorically, every traitor has balls, knowing prison, hanging or the firing squad awaits them in the future.

    2. Meanwhile, all the people in charge of the BLATANTLY ILLEGAL snooping face absolutely zero consequences.

      Even the one who admitted right to Congress’ face that he lied to them with the intent of keeping a program he knew to be illegal and unconstitutional from coming to the attention of Congress and the American Public.

  5. Who is paying his expenses? Does he get speaking fees or a book deal?

    How does one support oneself in exile if you aren’t a former dictator?

    1. Does he get speaking fees or a book deal?

      Well, the DOJ did just successfully sue him (his publisher) for $5.2M in speaking and book fees. Additionally, Mills wasn’t exactly gutter trash to begin with and has a… functional online/performing career.

    2. He has a small business doing things like repairs on laptops that are water damaged.

  6. So, in the event that either Trump or Biden changes his mind and pardons Snowden, he’ll still be able to return to his home country.

    There’s no way Biden or anyone in his administration will give Snowden a pardon. His actions utterly embarrassed the Obama administration, which had been jerking itself off in the years prior about how “transparent” it supposedly was.

    Trump MIGHT decide to do so, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Even if he did, the second Snowden stepped foot back on US soil, he’d be in danger of getting Epstein’d.

    1. Biden personally called all the governments that offered to give Snowden asylum and threatened them with U.S. retaliation. Biden is an enemy of liberty.

      1. Biden is an enemy of liberty.

        Whoa Chipper are you serious or is someone spoofing you again ?

    2. Hey, Obama was very transparent in prosecuting whistleblowers.

      Not that Trump is any better.

      The really, really bad stuff is the stuff they all agree on.

  7. He did a recent interview with Joe Rogan; the guy is pretty damned good when it comes to explaining what he did and why.

    1. Yeah, I listened to the whole thing. The man is a hero.

      1. Yes. He is an American hero and should be treated as such.

        His book is a good read. I recommend it.

        1. I bought the book mostly to show moral support and kick sand in the government’s face, but it was surprisingly good, and I am glad I read it.

      2. That’s one thing we can agree on; I don’t like the way he did it, but I don’t see any other alternative that he could have had, and it was information that needed to be known.

        If he had stayed in the US and released this, he’d be dead by now. He specifically sought out Glenn Greenwald with this info and not the mainstream media because he knew the latter couldn’t be trusted to not sell him out.

        1. Quite frankly, the man deserves a statue in Memorial Plaza, or whatever it is that Trump’s calling that heritage park on the Mall that he wants. I don’t think he’s going to be given his just due until well after most of the current political leaders are mouldering in the grave, however.

        2. You also have to take into account the NSA whistleblowers before Snowden. They went through the correct channels and still ended up having their houses raided and lives turned up side down.

          1. Absolutely. That’s why I mentioned that I didn’t see any other alternative he could have taken. The glow-in-the-darks would have assassinated him for blowing the whistle on that stuff.

        3. He just proved what any of us with a lick of sense knew – our government is a bunch of liars, and they collect almost everything we do online. I’m sure it has only gotten worse since he made his revelation.

          If I ever met him, I would shake his hand, thank him, and ask if he’d mind taking a picture with me.

      3. Mills is pretty admirable herself. She is/was pretty left-wing to begin with and there are a lot of more conservative women who bleed red, white, and blue who would’ve quite understandably said, “It’s been nice knowing you.” as the door slammed behind them.

        Hell there are probably tens of thousands of enlisted men who could tell you about two or three women each who were more treacherous and/or less steadfast.

  8. Well he’s certainly cultivated his personality, and the cultlike followers who slavishly listen to his every word.

  9. Nothing says free speech and anti-government surveillance like becoming a Russian “citizen”.

    1. Nothing says free speech and anti-government like forcing a whistleblower to become a Russian “citizen”.

    2. WTF do you expect him to do? His own government plans to lock him away forever for exposing that they have been blatantly violating the constitution.

      Snowden deserves a medal.

      1. Just pointing out that Russia isn’t big on civil rights. Snowden should be pardoned, but likely never will be.

        1. Yeah his move to Russia isn’t some sort of symbol of liberty, it was quite simply a location he could move to and guarantee no extradition. He would love to live in the US, but that isn’t an option.
          He would have been much happier in a western democracy, but that wasn’t an option either.

          The only thing that would make Snowden a bigger hero in my opinion is for him to come and stand trial and speak out about civil liberties. Give me liberty or give me death sort of thing. But that’s not who he is. I respect his instincts for self-preservation, and appreciate the risks to his own safety that he took to tell us what needed to be told.

          1. “The only thing that would make Snowden a bigger hero in my opinion is for him to come and stand trial and speak out about civil liberties.”

            What makes you think he would get a fair trial or even a trial? More likely a kangaroo, terrorist “trial” all secret and behind closed doors.

            Probably after being held without bail (perhaps at Guantanamo) for a decade or two while the govt gets its ducks in a row.

            It would be extremly brave of him to face deades in prison just for the possibilty he may be able to speak out about civil liberties

        2. Every time he got close to getting asylum in a western nation (e.g., France, Germany), Kerry and Biden stepped in with threats of “consequences”.

          Of course, a Republican administration would have done the exact same thing.

          One party posing as two.

  10. “As for Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, it was under Obama’s Justice Department that Snowden was charged.”

    Still trump’s fault – – – – – – –

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  12. Scott Atlas the favored medical science advisor to the president, a neuroradiologist, just gave an interview to RT news. RT news is registered as an agent of the Russian government.


    1. And Big Tech, which works directly with the Chinese government to censor the internet there, is providing in-kind political assistance to the Democratic party to help their election campaigns. What’s your point?

      1. Orangemanbad, duh.

        You pretty well encapsulated my feelings on the Snowden brouhaha upthread, FWIW. Though I will add that a lot of .mil guys absolutely despise him. Some of it is likely due to having one of their toys broken, but I don’t think that explains all of the vehemence.

        It would have been preferable to divulge in this country, a la Daniel Ellsberg. But getting Gary Webb’d must have seemed awfully likely.

    2. Well, the bought and paid for MSM in this country isn’t going to provide any alternative airtime to anyone who bucks the Biden plan.

      Ed Schultz said he had much less editorial interference at RT than he did at NBC…who refused to let him cover the Sanders campaign because they were joined at the hip with Clinton.

      Remember, glass houses and rocks are a bad combo.

  13. The US government may have done things that Snowden did not agree with. There is a whistleblower protocol to make others higher up in government aware of the issue. If you are unhappy with how the situation is handled, you can resign and work for private industry. However, of you get a secret clearance you promise to keep secrets.

    I understand why Snowden is getting Russian citizenship. He really has nowhere else to go. Any place nicer would extrodite him to the US. I guarantee, Putin, would be far harder on any Russian that exposed Russian secrets. He is only allowing Snowden to stay to poke the US.

    1. And everyone who uses the protocol gets screwed.

      100% of the time.

      Thanks for playing.

    2. What a fucking hack post this was.

      The precise reason Snowden didn’t use the whistleblower protocol was because the Obama administration of prosecuting whistleblowers. In fact, they did it more than any administration in US history. The guy who claimed that the NSA wasn’t doing any of that shit flat-out lied that it was happening, and walks free as a bird.

      James Clapper should not only be lined up against a wall and shot in Minecraft, Snowden should be the one to pull the trigger.

      1. EXACTLY

    3. “The US government may have done things that Snowden did not agree with.” May have? MAY HAVE?!?

      Keep secrets of crime. I bet you make a great friend! Terrible American, but a great friend!

  14. Edward Snowden is a hero! We should be erecting statues of him in every city!

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