The father of NSA leaker Edward Snowden has told the Justice Department that his son will return home under certain conditions, including no detention before trial and no gag order, NBC News reports.
Lonnie Snowden spoke with NBC news investigative reporter Michael Iskioff in an interview aired by NBC’s Today program Friday morning.
He said he has not spoken with his son since Edward left the country last month and revealed classified information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance and data-collection network.
“I love him. I would like to have the opportunity to communicate with him,” he told NBC.
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. He said he also wants his son to select where a trial will take place.
“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 News. “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.”
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.”
Edward Snowden, who was employed by Booz Allen Hamilton as an NSA systems analyst in Hawaii, has requested political asylum from Ecuador after fleeing to Hong Kong last month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will not extradite Snowden to the USA, but also has not allowed Snowden to leave the airport transit area.