[Central News Agency] Edward Snowden, a former outsourced NSA employee who exposed the US global surveillance program in 2013, was granted Russian citizenship today by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Snowden fled the United States in 2013 and was granted asylum in Russia after revealing classified documents that revealed a massive domestic and international surveillance operation by the NSA.

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In 2020, Russia granted Snowden permanent residency, Reuters reported.

For years, U.S. authorities have wanted Snowden to return to the United States to face a criminal trial on espionage charges.

Snowden, 39, did not immediately respond to Putin's grant of Russian citizenship today.