- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2013

The father of National Security Agency leaker Edward J. Snowden arrived Thursday in Moscow hoping to meet his son, who is a fugitive from a federal indictment and has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

“I am his father. I love my son,” Lon Snowden told reporters in brief remarks broadcast by Russian TV.

He spoke at the airport where his son spent five weeks trapped in legal limbo in the transit lounge after fleeing Hong Kong ahead of a U.S. extradition request.

His visit comes on the heels of the younger Mr. Snowden’s meeting with U.S. national security whistleblowers and their advocates, who told Kremlin-funded Russia Today TV that they bestowed an award on the former NSA contractor for his revealing the agency’s warrantless U.S. phone-record collection and other snooping on Americans.

“This is an extraordinary person. He’s made his peace with what he did. He’s convinced that what he did was right; he has no regrets and is willing to face whatever the future holds for him,” said former CIA official Ray McGovern, a member of the whistleblower group Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

Sam Adams was a Vietnam-era CIA colleague of Mr. McGovern’s who “in his 10-year career as a CIA analyst caused more trouble than any analyst before or since,” according to a book review from the agency’s university.

Other members of the delegation: former FBI agent Colleen Rowley, who revealed bureau bungling in the run-up to Sept. 11, 2001; Thomas Drake, a former executive who exposed fraud waste and abuse at the NSA; and Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer at the Government Accountability Project, a Washington-based nonprofit watchdog.

Snowden’s award is likely to prove controversial, given that he has been indicted for offenses under the Espionage Act and that the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has hinted he may be a spy for Russia or China.

Ms. Radack said that Snowden would meet with his father Thursday, presumably in the Moscow area.

The elder Mr. Snowden was met at the airport by his son’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, an attorney said to be in excellent standing with the FSB, Russia’s intelligence and security agency.

Mr. Snowden added he was “not sure” whether his son would ever return to the United States.

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