Connect to share and comment
Edward Snowden's father said his son broke US law and betrayed his government, but did not betray the public when he leaked classified information on secret surveillance programs.
Lonnie Snowden, father of the contractor who leaked classified National Security Agency information on two US surveillance programs, said he believes his son did not betray the public and could return to the United States.
Edward Snowden, who is likely still inside Moscow's airport after leaving Hong Kong earlier this week, has asked Ecuador for asylum.
However, in an exclusive interview with NBC's Michael Isikoff on Friday, Lonnie said he had asked the US government for trial conditions that might tempt his son to come back home.
"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 US," Lonnie said.
Through his lawyer, Lonnie is expected to write to Attorney General Eric Holder to request that the Department of Justice forgo a pre-trial gag order and not detain his son before trial.
Lonnie Snowden also said it's possible Edward has been or is being manipulated, possibly by WikiLeaks.
“I don't want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him,” Lonnie told NBC. “I think WikiLeaks, if you've looked at past history, you know, their focus isn't necessarily the Constitution of the US. It's simply to release as much information as possible."
Earlier this month, Lonnie addressed his son on Fox News, saying: "I hope, I pray and I ask that you will not release any secrets that could constitute treason."
Here's part of that video: