Fact Check

Snowden Pronounced Dead by His Girlfriend in Russia

A fake news web site's claim that Edward Snowden was "pronounced dead by his girlfriend" has been aggregated by other low-credibility sites but remains false.

Published Aug 10, 2016

Edward Snowden was "pronounced dead" by his girlfriend in Russia in August 2016.

On 10 August 2016, the unreliable web site Disclose.tv published an article reporting that former National Security Agency (NSA) employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden was "pronounced dead by his girlfriend" in Russia:

Days after Edward Snowden‘s rumored death was debunked by journalist Glenn Greenwald and a Russian lawyer, a report emerged that his mistress and girlfriend have confirmed the leaker’s demise.


Quoting MKRU News of Russia, a conservative site called Get Off the BS said Monday afternoon that Snowden’s mistress said he was killed Saturday by a drunken knife wielding Buryat man in the Republic of Buryatia.

The article from which the claim was aggregated was presented in the style of fiction rather than reporting and was interspersed with salacious fabrications:

Late Monday afternoon, the mistress of the infamous Edward Snowden announced the death of Snowden, who was allegedly killed this past Saturday by a drunken knife wielding Buryat man in the Republic of Buryatia.

MKRU News (Russia) reported this past Saturday that a drunken man who for some reason took exception to a man, presumably Snowden, saving his wife from drowning, attacked a woman by slicing her neck and stabbed her male companion in the thigh, who later died from severe blood loss in a local hospital ... The injured were taken to a nearby hospital, where one of them died as a result of the extensive blood loss. The unidentified man was allegedly 27 years old. (Snowden who was born on June 21, 1983, would be 33 now)

That outlet connected the purported death of Snowden to a cryptic, since-deleted tweet issued by the exiled contractor on 5 August 2016:

edward snowden code twitter

While it was true the disappearing tweet was interpreted by many as an ominous signal, an insurance key, or a dead man's switch, journalist Glenn Greenwald (who works closely with Snowden to publish leaked material) quickly confirmed that Snowden is alive and well:

Disclose.tv and Get Off the BS are sites known for publishing outlandish fabrications and fake news in order to attract readers. On 15 August 2016 Snowden reappeared on Twitter, putting concerns for his safety to rest:

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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