WASHINGTON  - Reuters/AFP - The father of former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden said in an interview that while he has not had recent contact with him, he is reasonably confident his son would return to the United States if certain conditions were met.Those conditions could include not detaining Snowden before trial, not subjecting him to a gag order and letting him choose the location of his trial, NBC News said on Friday. The NBC report added that Lonnie Snowden plans to make those points in a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder to be sent through his lawyer later on Friday. Representatives for the Justice Department could not be reached immediately for comment on the letter.Lonnie Snowden, in part of the NBC interview that aired on the “Today Show,” also said he is concerned that his son, a former contractor for the National Security Agency, was being manipulated by others, including people from the anti-government secrecy group WikiLeaks.“I am concerned about those who surround him,” he told NBC. “Wikileaks - if you look at past history - their focus isn’t necessarily the Constitution of the United States. It’s simply to release as much information as possible. So that alone is a concern for me.”Edward Snowden, an American, fled the United States to Hong Kong in May, a few weeks before publication in the Guardian and the Washington Post of details he said he provided about secret US government surveillance of Internet and phone traffic.He faces espionage charges in the United States and has requested political asylum in Ecuador. He has not been seen since he arrived in Moscow on Sunday, but Russian officials said he was in a transit area at Sheremetyevo airport.Snowden’s father said he has not had contact with his son since April, NBC reported. “I love him. I would like to have the opportunity to communicate with him. I don’t want to put him in peril,” he said in the interview.Meanwhile, Russia on Friday accused Washington of putting it in a “tough spot” by claiming it had failed to disclose revoking the passport of fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden prior to his arrival in Moscow from Hong Kong.The diplomatic rhetoric around the explosive case of the 30-year-old former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor escalated when Washington blamed Hong Kong’s government of acting in bad faith by letting Snowden out in the first place.The fate of Snowden himself remained in limbo for a sixth day on Friday as he remained holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport without making any contact with the swarm of international reporters at the scene.The government of Ecuador - his most likely place of exile should he avoid arrest for lifting the curtain on the scale of the US global surveillance programme to the media - said that it had not yet processed Snowden’s asylum application. But Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro - who will coincidentally will be in Moscow on Monday for an energy summit - reiterated late Thursday his offer to grant a safe haven to the US fugitive. A Russian official close to the matter on Friday told the Interfax news agency that Washington had deliberately put Moscow in a difficult position, claiming it never reported that Snowden’s passport had been revoked and that he was banned from travel.He said Moscow might not have allowed Snowden to fly to Russia in the first place had it known about his travel problems. “The Americans deliberately put Moscow in a tough spot by having failed to inform it of the fact that his passport was annulled in time,” the source said.“The Russian authorities were informed of this post-factum, more than a week after Snowden was stripped of his passport,” he said. “If this fact had been known in advance, then possibly Mr Snowden might not have flown to Moscow and this entire story might never have happened.”Russia and the United States do not have an extradition treaty and Moscow has thus far refused to hand over Snowden to Washington.This refusal - expressed personally by President Vladimir Putin earlier this week - has added to diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Washington that have existed due to the Syria crisis. But the United States has expressed equal anger at the handling of the situation by Hong Kong - a US ally that is now administered by China but which has its own British-derived legal system.Washington’s Hong Kong envoy Stephen Young said China was guilty of “misbehaviour” over the former NSA contractor’s abrupt departure from Hong Kong last Sunday. Yet he also stressed that the territory itself would bear the brunt of Washington’s displeasure. “They’ve been throwing out some arguments as to what was going on. But frankly I don’t think we had a good-faith partner throughout that process,” the consul-general told foreign reporters.The Russian source said Snowden will only be able to leave the Moscow airport after a country such as Ecuador or Venezuela offers him political asylum.“On these grounds, he will legally leave the territory of Russia, without ever having crossed its border,” the official said.Snowden has applied for political asylum in Ecuador and was originally scheduled to travel there via Cuba on a flight that he abruptly missed on Monday.But Ecuador’s leader Rafael Correa said Thursday that his government had not yet considered the case.The Andean nation also denied claims by WikiLeaks that it had authorised a “safe pass” travel document for Snowden and said it would be unable to process his asylum bid until he enters Ecuadorian territory.Venezuela’s Maduro - his country’s relations with Washington at a low - appeared willing to step into the emerging void by offering Snowden a safe haven.“If that young man needs humanitarian protection and believes that he can come to Venezuela... (then Venezuela) is prepared to protect this brave youth in a humanitarian way and so that humanity can learn the truth,” Maduro said.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama insisted Thursday he would not let the fate of fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden ruin ties with Russia and China, but Washington warned Ecuador not to give him asylum.Snowden is wanted by the US authorities for leaking sensational details of vast US surveillance programmes.The Kremlin says he has been in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong on Sunday.But there has not been a single sighting of him at the airport and his travel plans remain a mystery after he failed to board a flight to Havana on Monday.Ecuador, seen as his most likely eventual destination, on Thursday denied claims by WikiLeaks that it had given Snowden a “safe passage” document.And in Quito, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa told reporters that the government had not yet considered his case.“We would probably examine it, but for now he is in Russia,” he added.But the affair has already triggered a war of words between the United States and Ecuador.It also risks further aggravating tensions between Washington and Moscow, as well as Beijing, already strained over the Syria conflict.Obama nevertheless made it clear there were limits to what the United States would do to catch Snowden.“I am not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” he said Thursday during a visit to Senegal, giving the wrong age for the former National Security Agency (NSA) technician, who recently turned 30.Obama indicated he did not want to ruin ties with Moscow and Beijing for the sake of Snowden, but also rejected any “wheeling and dealing” over the intelligence specialist.He had not called President Xi Jinping of China or Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the issue, he said.“The reason is, number one, I shouldn’t have to. This is something that routinely is dealt between law enforcement officials in various countries,” said Obama.While Putin has indicated he is keen to see the back of the unexpected visitor, he has also rejected US pressure to hand over Snowden. The two countries have no extradition treaty.