By Alexander Bolton - 08/11/13 02:59 PM EDT
Lon Snowden, the father of accused spy Edward Snowden, is urging his son not to take a deal with U.S. authorities to allow his return from Russia.
“What I would like is for this to be vetted in open court for the American people to have all the facts,” he said. “What I have seen is much political theater.”
His attorney, Bruce Fein, said Snowden would be traveling to Moscow “very soon” to visit his son.
“We intend to visit with Edward and suggest criminal defense attorneys who have got experience in Espionage Act prosecutions,” Fein said, noting there have been only 10 such prosecutions in the past century.
Russian President Vladimir Putin granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum at the start of August.
But Fein said his client wants to avoid trial in the federal court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which regularly handles national security cases, describing it as a “graveyard for defendants.”
Lon Snowden said he was disappointed by President Obama’s answers to reporters during a press conference Friday in which he said Edward Snowden was not a patriot for leaking classified information about the government’s broad surveillance programs.
“I was disappointed in the president’s press conference,” he said. “I believe that’s driven by his clear understanding that the American people are absolutely unhappy with what they’ve learned and that more is going to be forthcoming.”
Snowden argued that his son had to go public with information about the breadth of the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program because he would have unlikely seen any action from Congress.
“How do we think that he would have been received if he had a private audience with them?” Snowden asked of the likely outcome had his son first brought his concerns to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) or Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), influential voices on intelligence matters.
“We have seen how they reacted, even when the truth comes out, they spin the truth, they try to hide it from the American people. He would have been buried under the Capitol, and we would have never known the truth,” Snowden said.