28 Jun 2013

Edward Snowden ‘may return’ to US says his father

The father of the fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden tells NBC television that his son may return to face trial in the US under certain conditions.

In an interview clip shown on NBC’s “Today Show”, Lonnie Snowden said he was reasonably confident that his son would return if he was guaranteed that he would not be imprisoned in the run-up to a trial.

Mr Snowden senior said that he would be sending a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder to explain his thinking.

He also expressed concerns that his son was being manipulated by others including people from WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange – the founder of WikiLeaks, who is currently sheltering in the Ecuadorean embassy in London – has made high-profile comments about the case of Edward Snowden, who is also now believed to be seeking asylum in Ecuador.

Lonnie Snowden told NBC that although his son had broken the law in releasing classified information, he did not betray the people of the United States.

Diplomatic fallout

When his revelations over the massive extent of US surveillance of internet traffic were published by the Guardian newspaper, Edward Snowden had already left his home in Hawaii for Hong Kong. Despite US calls for him to be returned to America, he was allowed to fly on to Moscow by the Hong Kong authorities. He is still believed to be in the transit area of Moscow airport.

On Friday a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry said that China’s central government respected the handling of the case by the government of the Hong Kong special administrative region.

Referring to criticism from the US, she said: “China hopes a certain country can stop irresponsible attacks and accusations against China, start with themselves, and take practical action to strengthen mutual trust and co-operation, and jointly safeguard peace and security of the cyber space.”

On Thursday, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa conceded that to process Mr Snowden’s asylum application, Edward Snowden would have to be in an Ecuadorian embassy or on Ecuadorean territory:

“For that to happen a country would have to allow him to enter its territory, which has not come about yet. Mr Snowden is in a complex situation, we don’t know how it’ll be resolved.”