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title: 'CIA whistle blower Snowdens father Russian visa' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    The father of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed that the FBI asked him to travel to Moscow to visit his son. VoR's Tom Spender reports. But Mr Snowden said the trip had not yet taken place because access to his son could not be guaranteed and because the FBI had not yet told him what they wanted to gain from his trip. He told the Washington Post newspaper that he had refused to “sit on the tarmac and be an emotional tool” for the FBI. And in an interview with the broadcaster Russia 24, he said he did not believe his son would get a fair trial in the USA. “If he wants to spend the rest of his life in Russia, I would agree,”he said, “I am not against it. If I were in his place, I would stay in Russia.” Thanking the Russian government for its ‘courage and strength’ in keeping his son safe, he described his son as a ‘true patriot’ who had ‘made America a more democratic country’ and said that above all, he hoped he would be able to find a ‘safe haven’. Dr James Boys is a political analyst specialising in the USA at King College London. He says aggressive diplomacy had failed to secure Snowden, so the US is trying different tactics. “The logical next step is to try emotional hardball, by contacting the family directly and saying we have tried, now it’s up to you, this is your son. There must be a degree of emotional pressure placed upon Ed Snowden via his parents who must be worried sick about him and the situation he is in. So one can imagine how it actually makes sense for the American government to approach the family in this way and try to get them to act as some sort of leverage.” Meanwhile, Edward Snowden’s lawyer in Russia, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russia 24 that Russia had not yet received an official extradition request for Snowden from the US government. Mr Kucherena also said he would appeal any rejection of Snowden’s application for temporary asylum in Russia. And Kucherena was reported as saying he was trying to organise a trip for Snowden’s father to Moscow and was working to find a way for Snowden to be allowed to leave Sheremetyevo airport. “There are two ways out of this situation. He may remain in a transit zone and live there before he gets old, because he may stay there endlessly or we, Russia, may carry out our humanitarian mission providing him support, including that in relation to his status. This is what we are doing now.” But Sergei Strokan, a political commentator for the Kommersant newspaper, said Snowden’s asylum application was a complex bureaucratic process and he was not convinced that it would be granted. “For me it’s extremely difficult to understand how he can get political asylum in Russia and at the same time meet President Putin’s demand that while staying in Russia he should not challenge President Obama because Russia still is a partner of the USA – troubled, but a partner. “But as I understand it still the question is up in the air and no decision has been taken that would change his present status of a person who is restricted to the area of Sheremetyevo Airport.” Strokan said there were also concerns that Snowden might not be safe if he was allowed to move freely around Russia. “America is not a banana republic, it has strong secret services. It has many ways to punish a person who challenges the system. Probably this is why there is a big question mark over his security if one day he is allowed to go outside. So all in all it seems this is really a deadlock.” Meanwhile, Dr Boys of Kings College London said there was so far little sign that Snowden’s revelations about digital snooping by the National Security Agency had done much to change public attitudes in the USA. “Most American citizens, when asked about these incidents and about the activities of whistleblowers like Bradley Manning or Ed Snowden, perhaps strangely enough say they are more concerned about protecting the US homeland against terrorist attacks than by the concept that the American government is engaging in espionage against its own people.”Edward Snowden has said he eventually hopes to be able to travel to South America, where Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have all said they would grant him political asylum.

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