The father of former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has said in an interview he does not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin will "cave" in to U.S. pressure and extradite Snowden.
Lon Snowden gave an interview to Reuters on August 7 about the predicament of his fugitive son, who leaked information to the press about U.S. global surveillance programs that involved monitoring phones calls and Internet usage.
The elder Snowden noted U.S. President Barack Obama's decision not to meet one-on-one with Putin
during an economic summit in St, Petersburg next month due, in part, to Russia's granting his son asylum.
"These games of 'well, I am not going to go to this meeting' or 'I am not going to go to that meeting,' or 'I am not going to do this' -- I do not believe President Vladimir Putin will cave to that," he said. "That's not going to happen. What's going to happen in the future politically, I don't know."
Lon Snowden claimed his son is a small part of much greater issues dividing Washington and Moscow and criticized the way the State Department's has dealt with the case.
"I think we had a lot of foreign policy issues, and issues in terms of U.S.-Russia relations that preceded Edward Snowden," he said. "Certainly the way the U.S. State Department has handled the case has exacerbated some of the issues, but it would be misleading to suggest that Edward Snowden or, as the president would say, 'a 29-year-old hacker,' end quote, should have such an impact on U.S.-Russia relations. This is between the president and his State Department and foreign partners."
Lon Snowden indicated that he respected Putin for the resolve he had shown by granting Edward Snowden asylum in Russia.
"I am quite thankful for [the fact that he has allowed my son to take asylum in Russia]," he said. "And I am certain that there are people across this globe who applaud him as well, as well as many Americans who also applaud him."
After the information he leaked was published, the younger Snowden first stayed in Hong Kong. He flew to Moscow on June 23 and spent five weeks at a Moscow airport before being granted asylum on August 1.
Lon Snowden indicated that he hoped to travel to Russia soon and see his son. He also voiced support for Edward's decision to leak the information.
"The fact is that he did exhibit courage in sharing with the American people what he believed to be constitutional abuses," he said.
The former member of the U.S. Coast Guard said he would not take items with him for Edward or do anything that could be construed as illegally aiding or abetting his son.
With reporting by Reuters