NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been told by the Biden administration to return to America to “face justice,” after he was granted Russian citizenship by Vladimir Putin.
Snowden remains wanted by the U.S. government for releasing confidential state secrets to Wikileaks, which uncovered the U.S. federal government’s illegal spying on U.S. citizens.
Snowden fled from U.S. authorities after he blew the whistle on the NSA, and found asylum in Russia in 2013.
His ordeal has been the subject of numerous books, as well as a film by Oliver Stone, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the patriotic spy.
“Mr. Snowden should return to the United States where he should face justice as any other American citizen would,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday, who warned that Snowden could face conscription into the Russian army. Perhaps stating so as an incentive for Snowden to return to the U.S.
“Perhaps the only thing that has changed, is that as a result of his Russian citizenship, apparently now he may well be conscripted to fight in Russia’s war in Ukraine,” said Price.
Following Price’s remarks, Snowden’s lawyer issued a statement to Russian state media to point out that Snowden is not impacted by Russia’s mobilization of its armed forces, which only officially applies to reservists.
“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,” said Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s laywer in Russia to Sputnik News.
Addressing his Russian citizenship on social media, Snowden said that he had applied for, and obtained dual citizenship due to fears that he could be separated from his son.
Should Snowden change his mind and return to the United States, he could face a fate similar to that of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently languishing in a British prison and facing extradition to the United States.