The father of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden told a Russian media station that he is grateful to President Vladimir Putin and his government for protecting his son.
Speaking to the state-owned Rossiya 24 channel in footage broadcast Wednesday, Lon Snowden of Allentown, Pennsylvania, thanked the Kremlin for the “courage” shown in keeping his son safe.
Addressing his son, Lon Snowden said that “your family is well and we love you.” He added, “I hope to see you soon, but most of all I want you to be safe.”
The younger Snowden has been stuck in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23. Russia is considering his request for temporary asylum, which he submitted on July 16.
Putin has warned that Snowden could be granted asylum on condition he agrees not to hurt U.S. interests — implying that the American would have to stop leaking material on Washington’s spying efforts.
Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, has said the fugitive told him he could meet that demand.
The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday published a new report on U.S. intelligence-gathering based on information from Snowden, but Kucherena said the material was provided before Snowden promised to stop leaking.
“He warned me that he had already sent to the press an array of revealing information and secret documents and, unfortunately, could not stop its publication,” Kucherena was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Snowden, who revealed details of a U.S. intelligence program to monitor internet activity, has received offers of asylum from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia. However, the logistics of reaching any of those countries are complicated because his U.S. passport has been revoked.