Lon Snowden of Allentown, Pennsylvania, had been working behind the scenes with lawyers to try to find a way his son could get a fair trial in US. Edward Snowden has been charged in federal court with violating the Espionage Act by leaking details of NSA surveillance. (Agencies)
But in a telephone interview with an American news agency on Friday, the elder Snowden said that he has lost faith that his son would be treated fairly by the Justice Department. He now thinks his 30-year-old son is better off avoiding US if possible until an administration that respects the Constitution comes into office.
"If it were me, knowing what I know now, and listening to advice of sage people like (Pentagon Papers leaker) Daniel Ellsberg, I would attempt to find a safe haven," Lon Snowden said.
As a military analyst more than four decades ago, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret study of America's involvement in Vietnam, to major newspapers.
The elder Snowden said that he thinks Russia is probably the best place to seek asylum because it is most likely to withstand US pressure. Edward Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week.
Lon Snowden, a Coast Guard veteran who has worked on national security issues in his career, said he has tremendous faith in the American people and in the Constitution. He said that in a more subdued environment he feels confident that his son could get a fair trial, and the leak would be considered in context of his son's desire to expose a surveillance program that he and others believe exceeds constitutional bounds.
However, he said that the Justice Department's efforts to pressure other countries to turn over Snowden, coupled with silence from President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder in the face of denunciations leveled by members of Congress who have labeled Snowden a traitor, have eroded his hope for a fair trial.
Lon Snowden and his lawyer, Bruce Fein, released a letter on Friday asking Obama to dismiss the criminal charges against Edward Snowden and to support legislation "to remedy the NSA surveillance abuses he revealed."
Lon Snowden of Allentown, Pennsylvania, had been working behind the scenes with lawyers to try to find a way his son could get a fair trial in US. Edward Snowden has been charged in federal court with violating the Espionage Act by leaking details of NSA surveillance.