The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, Edward Snowden, who is hailed as a whistleblower by supporters and a traitor by opponents, was officially named the student rector of Scotland's University of Glasgow on Wednesday, a position that requires his representing students on the university's governing committee, according to European news outlets.
The 30-year-old Snowden's unauthorized -- many claim illegal -- release of classified documents has been described as the most damaging security leak in U.S. history by many within the U.S. intelligence, military and law enforcement communities, according to former intelligence officer and police detective Sid Franes.
During the Glasgow rectorial ceremony, Snowden had to give his inaugural speech with a video link to university staff and students since he's a wanted man who has exiled himself to Russia to avoid arrest and prosecution.
"In a democracy people have a right to know the policies of their government. This idea that if we believe in something we should stand up for it is what I will follow in my role as rector of the university," Snowden noted in his speech.
"What I find particularly suspicious is the fact that Snowden never graduated from any college or university. He didn't even graduate with a high school diploma," noted Franes.
"This is simply the anti-American left honoring a man who betrayed his own country while presenting himself to the world as some kind of hero," he added.
Snowden is expected to accept his appointment from the previous rector, Charles Kennedy, and will hold the office for the next three years.
Considered a fugitive from U.S. justice, Snowden is currently living in Russia under temporary asylum and facing espionage charges for his leaks on U.S. National Security Agency surveillance practices in his home country.