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July 31, 2013

Snowden's Father Glad Son is 'Safe'

by VOA News

The father of U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has appeared on Russian television.

Lon Snowden said Wednesday on Rossiya 24 that above all else he wants his son to be safe. The elder Snowden told his son that he loved him and hoped to see him soon.

Former National Security Agency worker Edward 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.

In an interview in The Washington Post Wednesday, Snowden's father said the FBI had tried to convince him to fly to Moscow to persuade his son to return to the U.S. However, Lon Snowden told The Post that the intelligence agency could not guarantee that it could arrange a meeting with his son.

The Post reported the elder Snowden told the spy agency that he would "not sit on a tarmac to be an emotional tool" for the agency's benefit.

Snowden told the newspaper that he was "as surprised as the rest of America" when his son exposed top-secret U.S. surveillance plans. He said he did not see any direct signs of the growing disillusionment with the government and its surveillance methods that Edward has spoken about in interviews. He said his son "simply did not talk about his work."

Edward Snowden sought refuge in the Russian capital from pending espionage charges against him in the U.S. Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused a request from U.S. President Barack Obama to expel Snowden so he can stand trial in the U.S.

Snowden has asked for asylum from at least 20 countries, but the U.S. has canceled his passport.