Feeds

Obama cancels meeting Putin in Russia, says Snowden 'a factor'

But he's still just a hacker, right Mr. President?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

President Obama has cancelled a planned pow-wow with Russian president Vladimir Putin at next month's G20 Summit in St Petersburg, saying the granting of asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was "a factor."

"Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a U.S.-Russia Summit in early September," the White House said in a statement.

"Russia’s disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship."

The statement also listed missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, and global security issues as factors in the decision. Russia's policy on "human rights and civil society," (presumably a reference to the legalized gay-bashing that has become common in the former USSR) was also cited.

Affairs of state will still continue of course – the planned meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and their Russian counterparts will go ahead on Friday in Washington as planned. But the move is a very public bit of arm-twisting by the White House, which is odd considering that it makes Obama two-for-two in broken promises on the subject of Snowden.

During a June trip to Africa with his immediate predecessor, George Bush, the subject of Snowden came up in a press conference and Obama dismissed the issue as just another extradition case of a "29 year-old hacker." The US wouldn’t be scrambling aircraft to force down planes or engaging in diplomatic shenanigans over Snowden, he said.

"I get why it's a fascinating story from a press perspective. And I'm sure there will be a made-for-TV movie somewhere down the line. But in terms of US interests, the damage was done with respect to the initial leaks," he said.

Just six days later, the jet of Bolivian president Evo Morales was forced to land in Vienna and was searched after reports that Snowden was on board. While no jets were actually scrambled, France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal denied the aircraft access to their airspace, leaving it with little choice but to submit to a search.

Now, six weeks later, it is diplomatic fencing time, with the president cancelling his planned meeting with Putin over the issue. One wonders quite how far the US is willing to go to get its hands on Snowden, and how worried those in power are about what unreleased documents he still has.

Given that the leaks so far detail the mass surveillance of world data traffic (and of US citizens), the routine lying of security agencies about their remit and motives, the complicity of the world's largest technology firms in aiding and abetting this surveillance, and the extent to which "national security" spying data is fed back to local law enforcement, then Snowden's remaining revelations must be quite something indeed. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?