WASHINGTON — Fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden contacted a popular U.S. news website, The Huffington Post, and said media have been "misled" by associates of his father, Lon Snowden, and have published "false" claims about his situation, the website said Friday.
"It has come to my attention that news organizations seeking information regarding my current situation have, due to the difficulty in contacting me directly, been misled by individuals associated with my father into printing false claims about my situation," read the text of the message purportedly sent by the younger Snowden.
"Neither my father, his lawyer Bruce Fein, nor his wife Mattie Fein represent me in any way," the message stated. "None of them have been or are involved in my current situation, and this will not change in the future."
Lon Snowden has made numerous television appearances in recent weeks accompanied by Bruce Fein, presented as his attorney. In that time, Fein's wife, Mattie Fein, has been a steady source of information for journalists about Lon Snowden's plans to travel to Russia to visit his son.
The younger Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), is wanted by the U.S. on espionage and other charges after he gave journalists classified documents detailing the NSA's far-reaching electronic and telephone surveillance programs. He was granted temporary asylum in Russia last month.
The Huffington Post said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was helping coordinate Edward Snowden's legal defense in the U.S. and had confirmed that the e-mail received by the website had indeed been sent by Snowden.
Mattie Fein told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the father's legal team "doesn't trust the intentions" of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald who broke the first of the stories on the NSA surveillance programs following contacts with Edward Snowden.
A source close to the case told RIA Novosti on Thursday that the conversation earlier this week on an encrypted internet chat service between Lon Snowden and his son had been carried out against the wishes and advice of Lon Snowden's lawyers.