Edward Snowden's father Lon, and the family lawyer Bruce Fein appeared with George Stephanopoulos on ABC"s This Week.
In the course of a short interview they made short work of the talking points being discussed ad nauseum - whether he's a traitor, whether he broke the law, whether he's a whistleblower, and how he should have followed regular channels available to him to share the information he did.
Stephanopoulos brought up the possibility of a deal with the Russians for his return, even though there are no signs from the DOJ that they are working on one. The two guests reminded viewers of James Madison's words describing a civil society.
SNOWDEN: I can tell you that I'm not open [to] it. And that's what I'll share with my son in terms of a plea deal at this point..
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're not open to it.
SNOWDEN: Not open to it. At this point, what I would like is for this to be vetted in open court for the American people to have all of the facts. What I have seen is much political theater. I was disappointed in the president's press conference. I believe that's driven by his clear understanding that the American people are absolutely unhappy with what they've learned and that more is going to be forthcoming.
So again, and I believe much of what he suggested is superficial. We can go over that point by point if you would like, but a deal -- the only deal will be true justice. You know, justice should be the goal of our government and is also the goal of a civil society.
FEIN: Those are the words of James Madison.
They discussed whether Snowden is a patriot or traitor, reminded viewers of the meaning of the word patriot, according to Thomas Payne.
FEIN: And we intend to visit with Edward and suggest criminal defense attorneys who have got experience in Espionage Act prosecutions. There have only been ten in over 100 years. We think, also, it's especially important to go back to what President Obama said about Edward not being a patriot. It was the voice of the American revolution, Thomas Payne who defined a patriot as someone who saves his country from his government.
SNOWDEN: I would say -- again, I think he was put in a tough spot. There were many questions that should have been asked at that press conference that were not. I would have liked to see them ask about the DEA special operation division, many other things -- his treatment of whistle-blowers. But in terms of him characterizing my son as a patriot, or others like Peter King who characterized him as a traitor, what I would say is that my son has spoken the truth. He has sacrificed more than either the president of the United States or Peter King have ever in their political careers or their American lives. So how they choose to characterize him really isn't...
SNOWDEN: As a father, I want my son to come home if I believe that the justice system that we should be afforded as Americans is going to be applied correctly. At this point, when you consider many of the statements made by our leaders, leaders in congress, they are absolutely irresponsible and inconsistent with our system of justice. They have poisoned the well, so to speak, in terms of a potential jury pool.Another common talking point is the belief that Snowden has broken the law. His lawyer pushed back hard on this point.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I was going to say, it does appear that he broke the law.
FEIN: No.And the travesty of suggesting he could have gone through 'channels':
George, that's simply irresponsible to suggest before a trial someone has broken the law. It may well be that what he disclosed is protected by the first amendment. The president himself has already conceded there's something irregular about the way the NSA...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Although, the president pointed out that he had other avenues open to him...And on the issue of whistleblowers and protection for them:
FEIN: Yes. Let's go that. And what he said was, oh, Mr. Snowden should have gone to the congressional oversight committees. The congressional oversight committees have gone on record, Dianne Feinstein, he's guilty of treason. These were the committees that knew for seven years what was going on and refused to disclose it to the American people. The best was some cryptic statements.
If the American knew what was going on, they would be stunned.
And Edward Snowden is supposed to go to them? That seems rather implausible, because they were the ones who were responsible for the secrecy.
SNOWDEN: I want to add to this. I want to add is in terms of -- the president made the statement that Edward -- that the president had enacted whistle-blower laws that protected contractors like my son Edward, that is absolutely untrue. Either the president is being misled by his advisers or he is intentionally misleading the American people...
STEPHANOPOULOS: You don't think he would have been protected by the whistle blower status?
SNOWDEN: Absolutely not.
And maybe at some point, we should go through that. You know, just hypothetically, let's imagine that Edward Snowden said, wow, there's a problem -- let's say he got on an airline in Honolulu and he chose to fly to Washington, D.C., lands at Dulles and he actually gets an audience with, oh, let's say, Peter King or Dianne Feinstein, how do we think that he would have been received if he had a private audience with them? We have seen how they reacted, even when the truth comes out, they spin the truth, they try to hide it from the American people. He would have been buried under the capital. And we would have never known the truth