Lon Snowden, the father of the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, told ABC's This Week program with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he has no interest in his son returning from Russia to cop to a plea deal regarding the Espionage Act charges the U.S. government has filed against him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What was your reaction when you heard the president say your son is not a patriot?
SNOWDEN: I would say — again, I think he was put in a tough spot. There were many questions that should have been asked at that press conference that were not. I would have liked to see them ask about the DEA special operation division, many other things — his treatment of whistle-blowers. But in terms of him characterizing my son as a patriot, or others like Peter King who characterized him as a traitor, what I would say is that my son has spoken the truth. 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. So how they choose to characterize him really isn't...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But (inaudible) you say you're not open to a deal, but you are — it does sound like you're going to encourage your son to come here back and face trial?
FEIN: I think, George, I can add — because I wrote a letter with Lon to the attorney general of the United States saying we would like to discuss conditions that would make it permissible.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. You said no pre-trial detention, no gag order, and he would choose the venue.
FEIN: No, no, no, a venue that was impartial, because of the history of the Eastern District of Virginia being a graveyard for defendants.
But, those, George, were not stated as ultimatums. They were subjects for discussion, with non-circumvention clauses in there. Just because we understand, we can't dictate what the Department of Justice does.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And as a father, you want your son to come home.
SNOWDEN: As a father, I want my son to come home if I believe that the justice system that we should be afforded as Americans is going to be applied correctly. At this point, when you consider many of the statements made by our leaders, leaders in congress, they are absolutely irresponsible and inconsistent with our system of justice. They have poisoned the well, so to speak, in terms of a potential jury pool.
Where my son chooses to live the rest of his life is going to be decision. What I would like at some point in time for him to be able to come back to the U.S. Whether he's going to live the rest of his life here, and face this, because I believe that the truth will shine through. It's clear that the American people, regardless of what laws have been passed by congress...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I was going to say, it does appear that he broke the law.
George, that's simply irresponsible to suggest before a trial someone has broken the law. It may well be that what he disclosed is protected by the first amendment. The president himself has already conceded there's something irregular about the way the NSA...