The father of U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has refused an FBI offer to fly to Moscow after the agency told him that a meeting with his son could not be guaranteed.
"I said, 'Wait a minute, folks, I'm not going to sit on the tarmac to be an emotional tool for you,'" Lon Snowden told The Washington Post, in remarks published Wednesday.
The elder Snowden is eager to visit his son but won't discuss the idea with the FBI, he told Rossia 24 television on Wednesday.
Edward Snowden, 30, has been stranded in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport since he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23 and U.S. authorities canceled his passport.
"If I was in his place, I would stay in the Russian Federation," Lon Snowden said in the television interview. "Russia has the determination and the ability to protect my son, to shield him from those who want to bring him harm."
He publicly accused U.S. government officials of demonizing his son in an interview with the "Today Show" on U.S. NBC television on Friday.
The younger Snowden is now seeking temporary asylum in Russia, saying he would not be tried fairly in the U.S.
"We can't believe in a fair trial, because U.S. politicians have already expressed the position that Edward Snowden is a traitor," said Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who is advising Edward Snowden, according to Interfax.
On Russian television, Lon Snowden, a retired coast guard officer, thanked the Russian people, President Vladimir Putin, and the Russian government "for their bravery, strength, and conviction that it is necessary to keep my son safe."
"Edward, I hope you're watching me. Everything's fine at home. … Don't worry, focus on your own life," he said.