“What I would like,” said Lon Snowden, the father, “is for this to be vetted in open court, for the American people to have all the facts.” He said he favored his son’s return if a fair trial was assured. As for a possible plea deal, he said, “I’m not open to it, and that’s what I’ll share with my son.”
Appearing on the ABC News program “This Week,” Lon Snowden and the family’s lawyer, Bruce Fein, declined to say when they would visit, to avoid what Mr. Fein called a news media “frenzy,” but they said it would be soon.
In a criminal complaint filed in June, federal prosecutors charged Edward Snowden with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and willfully disclosing classified communications intelligence “to an unauthorized person.” The second and third charge were brought under the Espionage Act of 1917.
“We intend to visit with Edward and suggest criminal defense attorneys who’ve got experience in Espionage Act prosecutions,” said Mr. Fein, a well-known Washington lawyer who specializes in constitutional and international law. Such lawyers, he added, are uncommon, since prosecutions under the Espionage Act have been rare historically.
Mr. Fein noted that he has laid out his concerns about a potential trial, including its venue, in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., but he insisted that the terms he discussed were not “ultimatums” but rather negotiating points.
Mr. Fein and Lon Snowden offered few details about Edward Snowden’s living arrangement in Russia. The authorities there granted him asylum on the condition that he disclose no more information about the National Security Agency programs.
Mr. Fein did say that he had been told by Mr. Snowden’s lawyer in Russia that the young man was safe but “exhausted” after an extraordinary odyssey that took him from Hawaii, where he worked as an intelligence contractor with access to a huge array of government information, to Hong Kong, where he released details of N.S.A. programs, and then on to Russia.
Lon Snowden, a Pennsylvania resident who served in the United States Coast Guard for about 30 years before retiring in 2009, has said in previous interviews that he will take precautions, while in Russia, to do nothing that can be construed as aiding or abetting a wanted fugitive. For that reason, he said recently, he had not spoken to his son since before Edward flew to Hong Kong.
Last week, President Obama canceled a planned meeting in Moscow with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in part to express American pique over Russia’s granting of temporary asylum to Mr. Snowden.
In his news conference on Friday, Mr. Obama said that if Mr. Snowden believed in the rightness of his actions, “then, like every American citizen, he can come here, appear before the court with a lawyer and make his case.”
At the same time, the president used the news conference to promise more openness and scrutiny of the N.S.A. programs, in a clear response to widespread criticism after Mr. Snowden’s revelations.
Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” that he would have liked to have seen Mr. Obama denounce Mr. Snowden more forcefully.
“He’s not a patriot,” Mr. King said.
But Lon Snowden, in his interview, listed Mr. King among the Congressional leaders he said had leapt to “absolutely irresponsible” conclusions about his son before any trial had been held. “They have poisoned the well, so to speak, in terms of a potential jury pool,” he said.