30-year-old American Edward Snowden, a contract employee at the National Security Agency, is the whistleblower behind significant revelations that surfaced in June 2013 about the US government's top secret, extensive domestic surveillance programmes. Snowden flew to Hong Kong from Hawaii in May 2013, and supplied confidential US government documents to media outlets including the Guardian.
Snowden's father contacts him despite legal advice
The Russian lawyer for Edward Snowden has said the father of the US intelligence leaker had for the first time contacted his son via the internet in defiance of legal advice.
The 30-year-old former US National Security Agency contractor received asylum in Russia on August 1 after spending more than five weeks stranded in a Moscow airport avoiding extradition to the United States.
Snowden is wanted by Washington on espionage charges linked to his media disclosures about the secret details of US surveillance programmes.
Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Snowden and his father Lon had recently chatted via the internet. Lon Snowden has obtained a Russian visa and is expected in Russia soon to visit his son.
"This decision was taken by Lon Snowden independently, contrary to the recommendation of his attorneys," Kucherena said.
"Fatherly feelings turned out to be stronger than security concerns. But we still do not recommend that they communicate via the web, even using encrypted channels, although we understand that Edward is a technology expert."
The younger Snowden's stay in Russia has been shrouded in secrecy and his whereabouts are unknown.
The dates and other circumstances of Lon Snowden's upcoming visit to Russia have also been kept under wraps.
Kucherena said neither the Snowden family nor its lawyers would disclose the dates of Lon Snowden's visit to Russia "out of security concerns".
"This is the family's wish," the lawyer added.