'I don't believe that he's betrayed the people of the United States,' Edward Snowden's dad says
Ecuador rebukes U.S. offer to extradite whistleblower
In yet another sign that public opinion may be tipping in favor of whistleblower Edward Snowden, his father has come forward to say that he doesn't believe that his son committed treason. Lonnie Snowden told television reporters that "At this point I don't feel that he's committed treason. He has in fact broken U.S. law, in a sense that he has released classified information."
Edward Snowden released classified information about the government's previously secret surveillance programs. His father Lonnie Snowden says he spoke with Attorney General Eric Holder through his lawyer. He told Holder that his son will probably return home if the Justice Department promises not to detain him before a trial nor subject him to a gag order. He also said he wants his son to choose where a trial would take place.
Edward Snowden's location still remains unknown. He reportedly flew to Moscow on his reported path to Ecuador, where officials in the South American nation have offered him asylum.
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa described the case as a "complex situation" because Snowden must be physically in the country or inside an Ecuadorean embassy for his asylum application to be processed.
"For that to happen, a country would have to allow him to enter its territory, which has not come about yet," Correa said. "We don't know it'll be resolved."
In a stern rebuke to the wishes of the United States, Correa also renounced a multimillion-dollar trade deal up for renewal between the two countries, saying any agreement would not be influenced by the Snowden case.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, promised to block renewal of the pact earlier this week if Snowden were to receive asylum. "Our government will not reward countries for bad behavior," he said in a statement.
That prompted Ecuador's Correa to renounce the trade deal as part of a "blackmail" scheme. "Do not threaten us with removing the preferential tariffs. We unilaterally and irrevocably waive them," he said. "You can keep them."
Snowden has reportedly been getting help in his escape plan from WikiLeaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, has been sheltered in Ecuador's London embassy for the past year.
Lonnie Snowden says he has not spoken to his son since April, but he fears that Edward may be manipulated by WikiLeaks handlers and would like to get in touch with him.
"I don't want to put him in peril, but I am concerned about those who surround him," Lonnie Snowden said. "I think WikiLeaks, if you've looked at past history, you know, their focus isn't necessarily the Constitution of the United States. It's simply to release as much information as possible."
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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