Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked a trove of secret documents on programs run by the National Security Agency and has for years been living in exile in Russia, made more than $1.2 million in speaking fees in recent years, according to a court filing.
The filing was made in a case the United States has brought against Snowden aimed at seizing money he made that stemmed from the fact he revealed classified information to the public, including from the speaking engagements and his book "Permanent Record," which was released last year. The speaking engagements, first reported by Politico, ranged from 2015 to mid-2020.
In this Feb. 14, 2015, file photo, Edward Snowden appears on a live video feed broadcast from Moscow at an event sponsored by ACLU Hawaii in Honolulu. This photo predates the speaking engagements reported by APD in its recent court filing. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia, File)
Robert P. Walker of the speakers agency American Program Bureau (APB) filed the document with the court in June but it was just made public Saturday after debate on whether the document should be filed under seal. In the end, the judge on the case made the payments to Snowden public but allowed APB to redact the money it made from booking Snowden for his speaking engagements.
Snowden's engagements ranged from Hong Kong to Iowa City to Zurich to Pittsburgh, and he never made less than $10,000 in over 60 events. The highest total he made was $50,000 for an event in Hong Kong. He additionally made $30,000 for an event in Park City, Utah, and $32,000 for one in Portugal.
The revelation comes as President Trump said last week he would "look at" a potential pardon for Snowden, who told CBS last year that he won't return to the U.S. without assurances that he will get access to "a public interest defense," a prerequisite, he says, for a fair trial in his case.
“I’m not that aware of the Snowden situation,” Trump told reporters in a briefing Saturday. “Many people think he should be somehow treated differently and other people think he did very bad things.”
“I’m going to take a look at that very strongly,” he added.
Trump previously called Snowden a "spy who should be executed" in 2013.
While Snowden is seen as a hero by many for exposing what they believe to be unjustified snooping by the U.S. government, others still believe he deserves to be in prison for his breach of classified information.
"Edward Snowden is a traitor. He is responsible for the largest and most damaging release of classified info in US history," Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., one of the top Republicans in the House of Representatives, said Saturday. "He handed over US secrets to Russian and Chinese intelligence putting our troops and our nation at risk. Pardoning him would be unconscionable."
Fox News' Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.