Washington (AFP) – U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden has been honored with a prize awarded annually by former CIA staff for exhibiting “integrity in intelligence,” the group said.
The 30-year-old, currently in Russia, is wanted by Washington on espionage charges after disclosing details about the vast scope of the U.S. government’s surveillance operations.
The Government Accountability Project said Snowden received the Sam Adams Award — a “symbolic candlestick” — at a ceremony in Moscow late Wednesday.
Those present included former National Security Agency senior analyst Thomas Drake, former Department of Justice ethics advisor Jesselyn Radack, former FBI agent Coleen Rowley and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, the group said.
In a statement on its website, the group said the award is “given annually by a group of retired CIA officers for members of the intelligence community who exhibit integrity in intelligence.”
Word of the prize surfaced the same day that Snowden’s father landed in the Russian capital hoping to meet his son for the first time since the former U.S. spy agency contractor became a fugitive.
In comments heavily dubbed into Russian from English, he admitted he still didn’t know where his son was staying.
Snowden’s whereabouts have been a mystery ever since Russia granted him temporary asylum.
The group — which says its mission is to promote corporate and government accountability — did not disclose any details about where in Moscow Wednesday’s ceremony took place.
However, Radack, now with the Government Accountability Project, was quoted as saying that “Edward looks great. He’s centered, articulate, and closely following the issues, both in the United States and globally.”
“He loves America and wants to see it returned to its democratic ideals, which are completely antithetical to a closed and secret society that make for turn-key tyranny,” Radack added.