Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden is applying for Russian citizenship, he said on Twitter.
Snowden, who fled to Russia after leaking classified documents in 2013 that revealed the NSA’s expansive domestic and foreign internet and phone surveillance, is expecting his first child with his wife.
“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son,” Snowden tweeted. “That’s why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we’re applying for dual US-Russian citizenship.”
The move comes two weeks after Snowden’s lawyer said he had been granted permanent residency in Russia.
“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,” Snowden said. “I look forward to the day I can return to the States, so the whole family can be reunited.”
Snowden has previously said he would be happy to leave Russia for France, having applied for asylum in the country under former President François Hollande.
U.S. prosecutors charged Snowden with three felonies in 2013: conveying classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing communications intelligence information and theft of government property.
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