Snowden Affair Fuels 'Friction' Between US, Russia
Russia’s refusal to extradite former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden to American authorities has created additional "friction" in an already fragile relationship.
"We have a [military] relationship with Russia that has equal parts of common interests and cooperation and friction," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Wednesday, according to The Hill.
"We're going to put [Snowden] on the negative side of the ledger, but we've got to work through it," he said regarding the U.S-Russia relationship during a briefing with reporters at the Pentagon.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday rejected the Obama administration’s calls to extradite Snowden, who has been charged with espionage for leaking vital details on domestic intelligence programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Snowden fled to Russia after Chinese authorities allowed him to leave Hong Kong days after the former NSA contractor leaked classified details of the intelligence programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post.
The former CIA analyst is reportedly still on Russian soil, after he failed to board a commercial flight from Russia to Cuba, where was seeking asylum from the espionage charges.
Officials in Ecuador are reviewing his request seeking asylum in the country, as Snowden reportedly remains within Russian borders.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he was hopeful Moscow will "do the right thing here and turn [him] over to the United States."
"He has broken laws [and] . . . this violation of our laws was a serious security breach in our national security apparatus," Hagel said at the same Wednesday briefing at the Defense Department.