YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Edward Snowden asylum could scuttle Obama trip to Russia

August 01, 2013|By Paul Richter
  • White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on Thursday. Carney was asked about National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who left the transit zone of a Moscow airport and officially entered Russia after authorities granted him asylum for a year, his lawyer said.
White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily briefing… (Susan Walsh / Associated…)

WASHINGTON –- The White House said Thursday it was “extremely disappointed” that Russia had granted Edward Snowden temporary refugee status, and said it is considering canceling an upcoming meeting between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that while officials were not ready to announce a decision on the meeting, “this is obviously not a positive development. We have a wide range of interests with the Russians and are evaluating the utility of a summit.”

His words suggested that U.S. officials will wait to see whether there will be any new flexibility from Russia on major U.S.-Russian issues when a delegation of top Russian officials meets with their U.S. counterparts in Washington next week. If they do not, U.S. officials may scale back or cancel the meeting.

Experts said a cancellation of the meeting would likely bring a Russian reaction, and could lead to a U.S. disengagement from a relationship with Russia after four years of trying to strengthen it.

“We’re headed for a very rocky period in U.S.-Russian relations, make no mistake,” said Andrew Weiss, who was a White House expert on Russia during the Clinton administration and is now vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

U.S. officials have been demanding for weeks that Russia return Snowden, a former intelligence contractor wanted by the United States for leaking details of a National Security Agency surveillance program. Russia has resisted, reluctant to become known for giving up foreign intelligence assets.

Republican senators have been suggesting that Obama should respond more strongly to Russia’s refusal to release Snowden. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the United States should push for NATO to allow Georgia to join the alliance, a move that would enrage Moscow.

Snowden’s lawyer said Snowden’s new status will last for one year, and allows him to move freely within the country.


U.S., Pakistan agree to revive high-level talks

Bank of England facilitated transfer of gold looted by Nazis

U.N. team to probe sites of reported Syrian chemical weapons use

Los Angeles Times Articles