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Lehigh County man breaks silence about Edward Snowden, son who leaked NSA secrets

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 18 2013 03:23:32 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 18 2013 04:23:17 PM CDT

Edward Snowden is the man who leaked the government's top-secret phone and Internet records program.

UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. -

Edward Snowden is the man who leaked the government's top-secret phone and Internet records program. 

Snowden's father, Lonnie, who lives in Upper Macungie Twp., Lehigh Co., has finally broken his silence in an interview with Fox News.

Lonnie Snowden urged his son to come home and to not commit "treason."

"The last seven days have been extremely difficult," he told Fox News. "I've gone from not knowing where my son was -- thought he was missing.  And then the news broke on Sunday, which just shocked everyone in the family that he was the NSA leak."

Monday's interview was Lonnie Snowden's first since news of the NSA leak broke.

"I would like to see Ed come home and face this," he said.

The senior Snowden spent 30 years in government service.  Although he disagrees with his son's decision to leak classified government documents, Snowden also shares Edward's concerns about the massive reach of the NSA program.

"I don't want the government listening to my phone calls.  I don't want the government archiving the places that my other children visit on the Internet," he said.  "They have no right, not even under the guise of, 'We need to keep you safe.'"

Edward Snowden has threatened to release even more information. His father urged him not to, calling the action potential "treason."

"I think it puts him at peril from a foreign government, from opportunists, and, in my opinion, clearly from our own government as well," said Lonnie Snowden.

Fox News asked, "If Ed coming back meant jail time, still want him to come back?"

Snowden replied:  "I have faith in our justice system, if applied correctly.  Absolutely."

Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong after he leaked the NSA documents.  His father said he doesn't know why Edward picked China.

"I was asked that question by the government, and I can't answer that," he said, "but I just believe it's a place that he was comfortable with and I don't believe he chose it by accident."