Obama Considers Canceling Talks With Putin Over Snowden

As the international crisis created by fugitive NSA data leaker Edward Snowden drags out, the United States is digging into its arsenal of tools to try to bring an end to the damage being done by the leaks.

According to cbsnews.com:

“The White House is considering canceling a fall summit between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, a move that would further aggravate the already tense relationship between the two leaders.

The White House is dangling that option over the Russians as Moscow considers a temporary asylum petition from  Edward Snowden, the American accused of leaking information about classified U.S. intelligence programs. But officials have privately signaled that scrapping the bilateral talks would also be retaliation for other areas of disagreement with Russia, including its continued support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s attacks against civilians.”

Some U.S. officials are even suggesting a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics scheduled to be held in Russia.

According to usatoday.com:

“Should the USA boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia? Sen. Lindsey Graham’s suggestion isn’t getting much traction, but the South Carolina Republican is looking at the big picture when it comes to the relationship between the two countries.

“Graham, a top Republican on national security and foreign policy issues, floated the boycott idea during an NBC News interview Tuesday. He said it should be put on the table if Russia grants Edward Snowden asylum, especially since that country has been supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s bloody civil war.

“‘I love the Olympics, but I hate what the Russian government is doing throughout the world,” Graham told NBC. ‘If they give asylum to a person who I believe has committed treason against the United States, that’s taking it to a new level.’

In response to the growing pressure and diplomatic threats from Washington, …Vladimir Putin says Edward Snowden, who may be able to leave his Moscow airport refuge within the week, has been warned that engaging in any activities harmful to U.S.-Russian relations would be ‘unacceptable.'”

NSA Puts Limits on Systems Staff in Wake of Snowden Leaks

According to bloomberg.com:

“The U.S. National Security Agency is imposing new restrictions on systems administrators and other personnel following ‘irreversible damage’ caused by fugitive former contractor Edward Snowden, the NSA director said.

“Without providing details, Army General Keith Alexander said he has seen signs that Snowden’s exposure of classified surveillance programs hurt U.S. intelligence efforts and made it harder for the government to thwart terrorist plots.

“Morale at the NSA, a Defense Department agency responsible for communications intelligence, has also been undermined by Edward Snowden’s disclosures and the public controversy that followed, Alexander said. He praised the agency’s workforce and cited 20 NSA code-breakers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

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