The four, formerly with the CIA, FBI, NSA, and Department of Justice, presented Snowden with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.
The first Americans to meet with Snowden since he was granted asylum in Russia in August, they told the Associated Press that he looked to be adjusting to life in Moscow well and felt no regrets at having leaked the classified information to the Guardian, Der Spiegel, and other media. Nor, they said, did they believe he was in any way controlled by the Russian government.
"He spoke about going out and about and getting to understand Russia and its culture and the people," said former NSA official Thomas Drake. "This is where he lives now, and so where you live is your home."
Neither he nor the other members of the group, Raymond McGovern, Jesselyn Radack, and Coleen Rowley, would say where they met Snowden, nor divulge where he lived.
"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," said Radack. "He definitely is his own person and makes his own decisions and says and does what he wants to."
The award is administered by the Sam Adam Associates, a group founded in 2002 mostly by former national security officials, and is named not after the colonial patriot but after a Vietnam-era CIA whistleblower.
Former honorees include three members of the group who met Snowden, Rowley (of the FBI), Radack, and Drake. Others have included Katharine Gun (GCHQ), Sibel Edmonds (FBI), Sam Provance (U.S. Army Sergeant at Abu Ghraib), Maj. Frank Grevil (Danish Army Intelligence), and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.
Snowden’s father, Lon, is also reportedly in Moscow, though he has yet to meet with his son.