Snowden senior says he prefers his son is a prisoner in US than a free man in Hong Kong.
The father of Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA worker who leaked classified information about the US internet and phone spy programmes, has appealed to his son to return home from Hong Kong where he fled to. He also urged him not to release further information that may constitute treason.
Lon Snowden said he would rather his son “be a prisoner in the US than a free man in a country that [does] not have the kind of freedoms that we have.”
His son, Edward, fled to Hong Kong before disclosing to the Guardian and Washington Post details of U.S. government’s phone and internet surveillance.
“I hope, I pray and ask that you will not release any secrets that could constitute treason,” Mr. Snowden said in an interview with Fox News.
Mr. Snowden said he believed his son was a “man of principle”.
“I know you’re your own man and you’re going to do what you feel you have to do,” he said in a statement addressed to Edward. “I don’t know what you’ve seen but I just ask that you measure what you’re going to do and not release any more information.”
Mr. Snowden however criticized the U.S. government’s alleged surveillance programme.
“I don’t want them reading my email. If we say, ‘We’re going to have to sacrifice our freedoms because of the threat of terrorism’, well, the terrorists have already won,” he said.
He also that he would prefer to see his son face time in prison than remain in Hong Kong.
But Edward Snowden has vowed to fight any extradition attempts by the U.S. Edward said U.S. officials had destroyed any possibility of a fair trial by labeling him a traitor.
“The U.S. government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason,” the 29-year-old wrote in a live online chat on Monday.
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney has denounced Edward Snowden as a “traitor”, while two influential members of the US Congress have accused the leaker of betraying his country.
The younger Mr. Snowden leaks revealed that U.S. agencies had gathered vast amounts of phone and web data. He also alleged that U.S. intelligence had been hacking into Chinese computer networks.
Mr. Snowden said he acted to “protect basic liberties for people around the world” and that he had the “obligation to help free people from oppression”.
“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under. We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify your machine. You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”