The Guardian has published the first verified photograph of Edward Snowden since he left the Moscow airport, meeting with former US whistleblowers who had traveled to Russia to give him the Sam Adams award for integrity in intelligence.
The four former US government officials who met Snowden said he was in good spirits and dismissed claims that he was in any way restricted by the Russian government. He was presented with the Sam Adams award for integrity in intelligence, which has been given yearly since 2002, when it was award to Coleen Rowley, the former FBI agent who before the 9/11 attacks denounced the agency’s failure to investigate suggestions that Islamist militants were targeting the US. In 2010, the award was given to Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
“He spoke very openly about a whole range of things, a number of which I won’t get into here, but it certainly didn’t involve any kind of manipulation by the Russian government or anyone else for that matter,” Jesselyn Radack, formerly of the US justice department and now with an organisation that protects whistleblowers, told the Associated Press. “He definitely is his own person and makes his own decisions and says and does what he wants to.” She and others present at the meeting refused to disclose where it had taken place.
The people who met Snowden were Thomas Drake (ex-NSA), Raymond McGovern (ex-CIA), Jesselyn Radack (ex-DoJ), and Coleen Rowley (ex-FBI), and Sarah Harrison from WikiLeaks. Drake, Radack, and Rowley are whistleblowers too.