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Today's Top News
Snowden's Father: 'Ironclad Assurances' Son's Constitutional Rights Protected Could Bring Return
Lonnie Snowden, the father of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, has said he believes his son would return to the U.S. if there were "ironclad assurances" that his son's constitutional rights would be respected.
Mr. Snowden sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder outlining conditions he says must be met for his son's return.
From BBC News:
"Mr Snowden is reasonably confident that his son would voluntarily return to the United States if there were ironclad assurances that his constitutional rights would be honored," said the letter by Lon Snowden's lawyer, Bruce Fein.
The correspondence also requested for the case against the former intelligence contractor to be dismissed in the event that any of the three conditions were not met.
The conditions, as the LA Times explains, are that Snowden "would not be held in jail before trial or subjected to a gag order, and would be allowed to choose where he would be tried on federal espionage charges."
In an interview with NBC, Lonnie Snowden added that while his son had "betrayed his government," he doesn't "believe that he's betrayed the people of the United States."
Plans for getting Snowden to Ecuador, which said this week that it would not be bullied or 'blackmailed' by the U.S. government over the possible asylum of the whistleblower, appear uncertain.
Some news agencies are casting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as contributing to halting the process. The Guardian reports:
President Rafael Correa halted an effort to help Snowden leave Russia amid concern Assange was usurping the role of the Ecuadoran government, according to leaked diplomatic correspondence published on Friday.
Amid signs Quito was cooling with Snowden and irritated with Assange, Correa declared invalid a temporary travel document which could have helped extract Snowden from his reported location in Moscow.
Correa declared that the safe conduct pass issued by Ecuador's London consul – in collaboration with Assange – was unauthorised, after other Ecuadorean diplomats privately said the WikiLeaks founder could be perceived as "running the show".
According to the correspondence, which was obtained by the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision and shared with the Wall Street Journal, divisions over Assange have roiled Ecuador's government. [...]
In a message attributed to Assange sent to Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, and other top officials, the WikiLeaks founder apologised "if we have unwittingly [caused] Ecuador discomfort in the Snowden matter." The note continued: "There is a fog of war due to the rapid nature of events. If similar events arise you can be assured that they do not originate in any lack of respect or concern for Ecuador or its government."
The reports prompted WikiLeaks to dismiss reported tensions via Twitter, and question if this was a sign the NSA was hacking or intercepting the Ecuadoran government:
Univision and WSJ are publishing intercepted/hacked emails from the Ecuadorean gov in relation to Snowden NSA asylum and the story is...— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 29, 2013
..spun to be about tensions that don't exist. Hacked/intercepted emails in relation to an NSA spying story. Talk about missing the obvious.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 29, 2013
Meanwhile, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who begins a new role as national security adviser on Monday, dismissed any claims that the revelations brought to light by Snowden weakened either President Obama or the country's foreign policy, saying that the U.S. empire still reigns supreme:
I think the United States of America is and will remain the most influential, powerful and important country in the world, the largest economy, and the largest military, [with] a network of alliances, values that are universally respected.