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A Voice Without a State: Snowden Defends Whistleblowing After Years of Life in Exile

Back home, Snowden is charged with treason and theft of government property for disclosing confidential US National Security Agency (NSA) data, including information of secret programs that spied on the internet activity and telephone records of US citizens.

Former NSA officer Edward Snowden took to Twitter on Wednesday to state that he does not regret the consequences of his actions.

The notorious whistleblower took to social media the same day Joe Biden was sworn in on the Bible as the 46th president of the United States, succeeding Donald Trump in the office. It was highly anticipated by many supporters that the latter would grant clemency to Snowden in the last hours of his presidency, but failed to do so.

"I would rather be without a state than without a voice," Snowden tweeted on Wednesday, apparently referring to him leaking highly classified information about US and UK surveillance programs, which targeted both ordinary people and top-ranking politicians, including in allied countries.

Earlier in the day, he claimed he was not upset that former President Trump had not issued a pardon for him, since failing to pardon "truth-tellers" should cause disappointment among Trump's supporters, according to Snowden.

No Pardon for Snowden Among 73 Trump Clemencies

​On Wednesday, during the last hours of Trump's presidency, the final list of people given a pardon or commutation by Trump before his departure from office was published by the White House. The list included a total of 73 pardons and 70 prison commutations, including that of Trump's former advisor, Steve Bannon, lawyer Paul Erickson, and former Uber executive Anthony Levandowski, as well as rappers Lil Wayne and Kodiak Black.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives to testify at the trial of Roger Stone, at federal court in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.  - Sputnik International
Trump Pardons 73 People, Including Ex-WH Chief Strategist Bannon, in Final Hours of His Presidency

The list of clemencies did not include the names of Snowden and another world-famous whistleblower, Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, who is currently in custody in a UK prison awaiting an appeal on the court's decision not to deport him for prosecution in the US, facing accusations that may lead him to a 175-year sentence.

The pardon of the latter was reportedly advocated by prominent American politicians and quite openly by public figures, including Snowden himself, who said in December that only Trump can save the life of the persecuted Assange.

In 2013, Snowden leaked highly classified sensitive data on surveillance systems in the UK and the UK, which happened to be of great concern to both ordinary citizens and top officials, including those in allied countries. He had to spend one month in Russia's Sheremetyevo International Airport after his passport was revoked, as the Russian authorities reviewed the case of granting him asylum. A three-year residence permit was subsequently granted to him in August 2014 and a permanent residence permit in October 2020.

In December, Snowden declared that he and his wife would apply for US-Russian dual citizenship.

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