In a news conference on Friday, President Obama said that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was not a patriot for leaking classified documents, and added that he has been charged with three felonies because of the leaks.
Obama also said that he had already called for a review of the surveillance program before Snowden’s leaks, though the leaks did trigger a “much more rapid and passionate response.”
Lon Snowden, Edward’s father, responded on Sunday to Obama’s comments about his son, and said that Edward had put himself at great personal risk to inform the American public about the surveillance programs.
“My son has spoken the truth, and he has sacrificed more than either the president of the United States or Peter King have ever in their political careers or their American lives,” Snowden’s father said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “So how they choose to characterize him really doesn’t carry that much weight with me.”
Lon said that he has secured a visa from Russian authorities that will allow him to visit his son, who was recently granted asylum there, and that he and his attorney, Bruce Fein, look forward to meeting with Snowden and discussing the possibility of his return to the United States.
He added that, as a father, he wants his son to come home – but only if the justice system is going to be applied correctly. He said he is not convinced that his son would receive a fair hearing because of the way the government has treated Edward Snowden.
“They have poisoned the well, so to speak, in terms of a potential jury pool,” he said.
Fein said that he plans to discuss with Snowden what his options are in regards to returning to the US and added that he will “suggest criminal defense attorneys who’ve got experience with criminal Espionage Act prosecutions.”
Snowden’s current location within Russia is unknown, and both Lon Snowden and Fein declined to elaborate on when they will be making their visit.
Jesse Farthing is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.