Snowden’s father: My son may return to US under conditions
A television screen shows former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden during a news bulletin. REUTERS PhotoThe father of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden said in an interview he is reasonably confident his son will return to the United States as long as certain conditions are met.
Those conditions could include not detaining Snowden before trial, NBC News reported. Snowden’s father, in part of the NBC interview that aired on the “Today Show,” also said he is concerned his son was being manipulated by others, including people from WikiLeaks.
Lonnie Snowden said he has not spoken with his son since he left the country last month and revealed classified information about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance and data-collection network. “I love him. I would like to have the opportunity to communicate with him,” he said.
Lonnie Snowden said he informed Attorney General Eric Holder through his lawyer that his son will return home if the Justice Department promises not to detain him before a trial nor subject him to a gag order, which bans information or any comments from being made public. Snowden was charged with espionage by U.S. federal prosecutors on June 21.
“At this point I don’t feel that he’s committed treason. He has in fact broken U.S. law, in a sense that he has released classified information,” he told NBC. “And if folks want to classify him as a traitor, in fact he has betrayed his government. But I don’t believe that he’s betrayed the people of the United States.” Lonnie Snowden said he also wants his son to select where a trial will take place.
Snowden’s father also said he was concerned about some of the people who have surrounded his son, including WikiLeaks, since he has been on the run.
“I don’t want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him,” he said. “I think WikiLeaks, if you’ve looked at past history, you know, their focus isn’t necessarily the Constitution of the United States. It’s simply to release as much information as possible.”
Snowden is believed to be at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport where he arrived on June 23 from Hong Kong.