Now that he’s out of the airport and into Russia, NSA leaker Edward Snowden is trying to put his life back together. Today, that included reconnecting with his father, Lon, “via an encrypted Internet chat program” against warnings from each of their legal teams. Snowden surely knows the risks, but as his Russian attorney Anatoly Kucherena put it, “I understand it’s a relationship between a father and a son.” With WikiLeaks somewhere in the middle.
Lon’s lawyer, too, looked down on the chat and is worried about these characters Edward is hanging around with. “The thing we have been most concerned about is that the people who have influence over Ed will try to use him for their own means,” said the spokeswoman and wife of attorney Bruce Fein, meaning WikiLeaks and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. “These guys have their own agenda here and we aren’t so sure that it has Ed’s best interest in mind.” (WikiLeaks now has Snowden merchandise.)
Greenwald shrugged off the concerns of Lon and his lawyer. “They have no connection to Ed,” he said. “Snowden is not 14 years old. He is a very strong-willed, independent, autonomous adult and is making all his own choices about who he deals with and who represents him.”
Update: Snowden is also capable of speaking for himself. He said in an e-mail to the Huffington Post that people associated with his father have “misled” journalists into “printing false claims about my situation.” “None of them have been or are involved in my current situation, and this will not change in the future,” Snowden said of his father and his lawyer. “I ask journalists to understand that they do not possess any special knowledge regarding my situation or future plans, and not to exploit the tragic vacuum of my father’s emotional compromise for the sake of tabloid news.”
Snowden added that he has “no conflict” with the people and organizations he’s working with. “I’ve been fortunate to have legal advice from an international team of some of the finest lawyers in the world, and to work with journalists whose integrity and courage are beyond question,” he said.