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Snowden's Father: FBI Asked Me To Go To Russia

  • RFE/RL

Edward Snowden (center) and Sarah Harrison (left) of WikiLeaks speak to human rights representatives in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport earlier this month.

Edward Snowden (center) and Sarah Harrison (left) of WikiLeaks speak to human rights representatives in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport earlier this month.

The father of fugitive U.S. intelligence-program leaker Edward Snowden says the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) asked him "a few weeks ago" to go to Moscow where his son has been living at the international airport.

Lonnie Snowden told state-owned Rossia 24 television on July 31 he was willing to go, but that he would first like to know what the FBI wanted him to do.

"[For me] to be an emotional tool for the FBI to use against my son -- to say, 'Your father's out on the aircraft, why don't you come talk to him' -- I wasn't interested in that. I wanted to make sure there was value to my son," the elder Snowden said.

Edward Snowden, 30, faces U.S. espionage charges for revealing large-scale Internet- and phone-surveillance programs.

His father said he should stay in Russia because he won't get a fair trial in the United States. He said he was grateful to President Vladimir Putin for keeping his son safe.

"I am sincerely thankful, and I believe this from my heart that Russia is the safest place for my son. And the fact is, that if he chooses to spend the rest of his life there, I'm comfortable with that," Snowden's father said.

"And he may choose to do that, very well may choose to do that. That's OK. So if that's where he's happy, I'm happy for him."

Still Awaiting Decision

The Russian lawyer helping Edward Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russian media on July 31 that he was arranging for Snowden's father to visit Russia.

Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, after U.S. authorities revoked his passport.

ITAR-TASS has quoted the head of Russia's Federal Migration Service, Konstantin Romodanovsky, as saying the agency had not yet processed the initial stage of Snowden's application. Romodanovsky said the process could take up to three months.

Meanwhile, "The Guardian" newspaper on July 31 published a new report on U.S. intelligence-gathering based on information provided by Snowden.

Kucherena said the information was provided to "The Guardian" before Snowden pledged to stop revealing secret U.S. intelligence.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS
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