FILE - In this June 21, 2013 file photo, a banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, is displayed at Central, Hong Kong's business district. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
MOSCOW (AP) — The father of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden said on Russian television that he is grateful to the Kremlin for protecting his son.
Speaking on state Rossiya 24 television in remarks broadcast Wednesday, Lon Snowden of Allentown, Pennsylvania, thanked President Vladimir Putin and his government for the "courage" they have shown in keeping his son safe.
Addressing his son, Lon Snowden said that "your family is well and we love you." He added that "I hope to see you soon, but most of all I want you to be safe."
The younger Snowden has been stuck in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23. Russia is considering his request for temporary asylum.
Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told the Vesti-FM radio station on Wednesday that he is arranging for Snowden's father to visit Russia. Kucherena said that he would send Lon Snowden a letter of invitation to Russia later on Wednesday.
Kucherena said that Snowden asked him to get in touch with his father because "he needs moral support."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.