international intrigue

Snowden Officially Making Things Awkward Between Obama and Putin

Photo: Tanya Lokshina/HRW

As expected, Vladimir Putin’s decision to give NSA-leaker Edward Snowden refuge in Russia for at least a year has deeply annoyed the Obama administration. While Putin insists in public that asylum for the man charged with espionage is just totally not a big deal, you guys, the White House is considering altering its future plans to make a point. “We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and in private to have Mr. Snowden expelled to the United States to face the charges against him,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. As for the Group of 20 meeting planned for St. Petersburg in September, and the one-on-one with Putin in Moscow, “We are evaluating the utility of a summit.”

New York Senator Chuck Schumer went further. “Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife,” he said, sounding not unlike Putin himself in moments of perceived betrayal.

But it’s not all about Snowden, anyway. “There is no question that there are a range of issues, setting aside the disposition of Mr. Snowden, on which we are currently in disagreement with Russia,” Carney added. Putin is, no doubt, up for the weeks of posturing to come.

Snowden Making It Awkward Between Obama, Putin