TODAY   |  July 26, 2013

Edward Snowden’s dad: ‘This story is far from done’

Lon Snowden, father of Edward Snowden, who leaked classified NSA documents more than six weeks ago, talks about his son, saying he’s thankful for anyone “providing him with assistance” and that “Americans don’t know the full truth, but the truth is coming.”

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>>> we're back now at 7:41. more than six weeks after divulging classified nsa documents edward snowden is in a transport section of a moscow airport. the questions he divulged is costing americans to question the program here and privacy. his father is here exclusively along with his attorney. good morning to both of you.

>> thank you.

>> contact with edward , it's been seven weeks. have you had contact with him recently?

>> no, no direct contact with with him. indirect contact.

>> through an intermediary.

>> yes.

>> through wikileaks?

>> no.

>> is he trying to get messages to you or are you trying to contact him.

>> no effort between either of us. i have things that i'm doing here. he has worked through intermediaries. i don't really want to --

>> i can just interject i did receive a call from juilian.

>> some say they're using him for their own purposes.

>> i'm thankful for anybody at this point that is providing him with assistance to keep him safe and secure. if wikileaks is doing that, i'm thankful for that.

>> i want to give people perspective. we spoke on the phone. i have a different sense of you. a lot of people you are a father wringing his hands at home over the fate of his son. after talking to you, i see you as a guy that has deeply, very passionate views about the issues your son has brought to the national discussion. is that fair?

>> absolutely. i'm a concerned father and i love my son but i have confidence in my son. at this point i'm absolutely certain that he is speaking the truth. i have someone that worked in the government for years and years and years. i am extremely disappointed and angry. i'm an angry american citizen. i watched closely the balance of the 36 members on the two intelligence committees in congress, particularly the house and the american people have not, at this point, they don't know the full truth but the truth is coming.

>> you talk about members of the house. let me talk to you about what happened in congress on wednesday. the house voted by a slim majority to continue funding the very program that your son exposed. 217 to 205. you have to know that some of those 217 members are going to go back and say the reason i voted for this is because it's vital to national security and protecting the american public. based on your experience and your imagine of the situation, you don't agree with that.

>> no. i absolutely do not. i absolutely do not agree with that chl certainly we have a need for a strong intelligence community and strong conventional defense but many of the same people that will go back and suggest that we must fund these obscenely expensive programs that drive massive products like companies and the group for whom michael hayden is a principle. it's all about the money. they don't want to think about the southern border because 11 and a half million votes are tied to that.

>> you also said you think that the votes that were cast on that issue were cast strictly for political reasons to save their seats in some ways.

>> if we're speaking about people on the intelligence committees, yes. i need to give credit where credit is due. folks like senator ron white i have tremendous respect for his courage and the 205 members who did vote to terminate the program.

>> i have to interject matt. there wouldn't have been a discussion if it wasn't for edward snowden . the fact that we had democracy at work is because of edward snowden .

>> we have an nbc news wall street journal poll and 56% of the people in that poll said they are worried that these programs, the kind of programs your son exposed invade our privacy. on the other hand, only 11% of people support your son. what do those numbers tell you?

>> well they tell me if you look at the concerted effort by both, many of the congressmen, the peter kings of the world, the michel michelle bauchmanns to demonize my son and focus the issue on my son and not talk about the fact that they have to talk about this being constitutional.

>> 90% of people think your son is wrong here.

>> look at what is reported in the media. many of the american people i would hope they would have watched his video.

>> if i could interject, four members of congress aligned him as a traitor. that's defined at letting war against the united states . the president said he's a hacker. you have all of this huge media trying to portray him in a negative light. so what do you expect?

>> in a letter the president, we're also apauled at the scorn for process, the rule of law, and the presumption of innocence as regards edward . the government is happy to show due process if your son could come back and answer to the charges.

>> let me answer that, in order to have due process you have to have a fair impartial administration here and when you're calling someone a traitor, convicting him in the press. having the president of the united states , a little bit like richard nixon saying charlie manson was guilty before you have any trial at all that doesn't inspire confidence that you're going to have justice. we wrote a letter to the attorney general of the united states asking to engage in a discussion to ensure that he not be obtained prior to trial. we have silence. how does that inspire confidence.

>> let me end with mr. snowden . his life will never be the same. whether it's living in a foreign country or coming back to the united states to face charges. perhaps spending the rest of his life in a federal prison . as a father, was it worth it?

>> at last nothing is sacred but the integrity of one's own mind. emmerson said that. when i take my final breath have to be comfortable with who i was. i think my son, whether it's today or 100 years from now he'll be comfortable with what he did. he did what he knew was right. he shared the truth with the american people . what we shoes to do with it is up to us as a people. are we going to listen to people like mike rogers that say trust us when we still have someone like james clapper who lied to congress. he is still being paid and serving this country. he works directly. we have much work to do. this story is far from done.

>> if he walks out of that airport in moscow, are you immediately on a plane to go see him?

>> we're certainly going to do our very best to connect with him and discuss.

>> history will vindicate edward snowden like it did the founding fathers indistinguishable from the surveillance programs of the nsa.

>> thank you for being here. i really appreciate it.