Snowden leaks allege NATO-member spied on Moscow, but Russia-US relations ‘intact’
Reports that a NATO-member country has been spying on Russia will not affect contacts between Moscow and Washington, Russia FM Sergey Lavrov said. The statement follows the latest revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“Contacts [between Moscow and Washington] never stop,”
Lavrov told RIA Novosti news agency when asked if the latest
publication of secret files leaked by the former National
Security Agency (NSA) contractor would affect relations between
Russia and the US.
Lavrov made clear that the situation around Snowden is irrelevant for Russia.
"We have formulated our position on Snowden and have said everything,” he said.
The statement from Russia’s Foreign Minister comes after the
Washington Post revealed that Snowden took 30,000 documents, some
of which contain sensitive information about a NATO-member
country running a collection program to spy on Russia in order to
provide valuable intelligence for the US Air Force and Navy.
“If the Russians knew about it, it wouldn’t be hard for them
to take appropriate measures to put a stop to it,” the
newspaper cited one US official as saying on condition of
Such collection programs were also allegedly run against Iran and
According to the source, Edward Snowden stole the documents from
a top-secret network run by the Defense Intelligence Agency and
used by intelligence arms of the Army, Air Force, Navy and
Former NSA-contractor and CIA employee gained access to the
documents through the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications
System, or JWICS, for top-secret/sensitive compartmented
information, the sources told the newspaper.
Obama Administration officials have started alerting some foreign
intelligence services that documents obtained by Snowden may
disclose details of their secret cooperation with the US.
As intelligence agencies were provided with an account of the
documents the NSA believes Snowden obtained, officials say there
is no particular pattern to the military intelligence documents
Officials now fear that any disclosures of this kind could
threaten intelligence cooperation with its allies in the future.
“Not only does it mean we have the potential of losing
collection, but also of harming relationships,” a
congressional aide told the Post.
The US depends “to a very great extent on intelligence-sharing
relationships with foreign partners, mostly governments — or, in
some cases, organizations within governments,” an official
“If they tell us something, we will keep it secret. We expect
the same of them,” he continued.
But should the secret be disclosed, “these countries, at a
minimum, will be thinking twice if they’re going to share
something with us or not”, he added.
Meanwhile, recently disclosed documents revealed that the US
intercepted the phone conversations of 35 world leaders,
including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
On Thursday the Guardian wrote that that a classified memo
provided to them by Snowden suggests that the NSA encouraged
officials within the United States government and intelligence
community to share among their colleagues contact information
pertaining to international heads of state.
The revelations have proven diplomatically contentious for the
United States. EU leaders say their relations with the US have
been undermined by reports of NSA spying on European leaders and
A partnership with America should be built on respect and trust,
they said in a joint statement.
"[The leaders] stressed that intelligence gathering is a vital
element in the fight against terrorism,” the BBC cites the
statement as reading. “A lack of trust could prejudice the
necessary cooperation in the field of intelligence
The European Parliament recently voted for the suspension of US
access to the global financial database held by a Belgian company
because of concerns that the US is snooping on the database for
financial gain rather than just to combat terrorism.