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Two Presidents and a Leaker

Author: Anya Schmemann, Director, Task Force Program
June 27, 2013
U.S. News & World Report

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The U.S.-Russia relationship is on the skids yet again. Just a week after Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin announced a new agreement to share information on cyberthreats and two months after the United States and Russia stepped up counterterrorism cooperation in the wake of the Boston bombings, the two countries find themselves at odds over leaker Edward Snowden.

But while tensions are high, neither side will blow up the relationship over the renegade former contractor.

Snowden, on the run since disclosing classified U.S. counterterrorism surveillance programs, fled to Russia from Hong Kong and is presumably in a Moscow airport transit zone. Putin rejected a U.S. request to hand him over and said Snowden is a free man with the right to fly wherever he wants.

Snowden is technically not on Russian territory since he has not passed through immigration and he is believed to be planning to fly to a country that would give him political asylum. "Any accusations against Russia [of aiding him] are ravings and rubbish," said Putin.

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