Edward Snowden contacts father Lon Snowden for first time since fleeing U.S.

Lon Snowden, Edward Snowden's father, appears on NBC's "Today" show in New York, July 26, 2013. Peter Kramer,AP Photo/NBC

MOSCOW The Russian lawyer for Edward Snowden says the fugitive National Security Agency leaker has been in direct contact with his father over the Internet for the first time since fleeing the U.S. and being granted temporary asylum in Russia.

The lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Russian news agencies Thursday that Snowden and his father, Lon Snowden, had acted against legal advice. He urged them to refrain from any further contact, even using encrypted messages, until meeting in person.

The elder Snowden and a U.S. lawyer have said they intend to travel to Moscow soon, but would not announce the date ahead of time.

Edward Snowden, who received asylum in Russia on Aug. 1, has not spoken publicly and his whereabouts remain secret. All previous contact with his father had been through Kucherena.

Previously, the father and his attorney, Bruce Fein, had said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that they look forward to meeting with Edward Snowden to consider options for the leaker to return to the United States at some point.

"As a father, I want my son to come home if I believe that the justice system ... is going to be applied correctly," Lon Snowden said.

But the elder Snowden isn't convinced his son would get a fair hearing in court, given what he called "absolutely irresponsible" descriptions of his son's actions from President Obama, his administration and top lawmakers from both parties.

"They have poisoned the well, so to speak, in terms of a potential jury pool," said Lon Snowden, of Allentown, Pa.

Edward Snowden roiled the United States intelligence agencies and upended US relations around the globe with his disclosures of highly classified programs that allow the United States to collect millions of pieces of data, including Americans' phone records. The government has charged him with violations of the Espionage Act in federal court in Alexandria, Va.

Fein said the family is willing to discuss conditions under which Edward Snowden might return to the United States and perhaps face criminal proceedings. Fein added that he plans to "suggest criminal defense attorneys who've got experience with criminal Espionage Act prosecutions" when he meets with Snowden.

Last week, Kucherena said he had sent Lon Snowden the required invitation to visit the country, a step toward securing a travel visa. Kucherena said he hoped a visit would happen in the coming days.

Fein says the trip would happen "very soon."

Russia's decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum angered the U.S. government and scuttled Mr. Obama's plans for a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in visit Moscow next month.

Lon Snowden said the political outrage in Washington would fade and added "the American people are absolutely unhappy with what they've learned — and more is going to be forthcoming."

"Where my son chooses to live the rest of his life is going to be his decision. But I would like at some point in time for him to be able to come back to the U.S.," Lon Snowden said.

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