US shrugs off Snowden father's Russia trip
WASHINGTON, October 10 (RIA Novosti) – The United States shrugged off the arrival Thursday in Moscow of fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden’s father and denied he was carrying any message from Washington for his son who has been charged with espionage.
“The father really isn’t our concern, and even the father meeting the son really isn’t our concern,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters hours after Edward Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, arrived at the same Moscow airport where his son was sequestered for weeks last summer.
“Our concern really is Edward Snowden returning to the United States. He’s accused of very serious charges here. He’ll be accorded full due process and protections applicable under US law,” Harf said.
Asked if Snowden had had any contact with US officials in Moscow, Harf said he had not. And in response to a question on whether Snowden’s father had informed US authorities on specifics of his Russia travel plans or was carrying any message for his son, she added: “Not to my knowledge.”
Speaking to Russian media earlier Thursday after arriving in Moscow, Lon Snowden said he believed Russia was the only place where his son was safe at the moment and stated he had no idea about his son’s future plans.
Edward Snowden was granted temporary one-year asylum by Russia in August after he arrived in Moscow on a flight from Hong Kong where he fled after leaking reams of sensitive documents on US intelligence electronic surveillance programs to media.
Many civil rights activists in the United States and around the world have described Snowden as a whistleblowing hero. US officials however have described Snowden’s actions as extremely damaging and say media have mischaracterized some of the information in the leaked documents.