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Lawmaker sees setback for Russian ties with Snowden release

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The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Russia’s decision Thursday to grant asylum to Edward Snowden is a “setback to U.S.-Russia relations” and that he must be returned to the United States.

“Edward Snowden is a fugitive who belongs in a United States courtroom, not a free man deserving of asylum in Russia,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat. “Regardless of the fact that Russia is granting asylum for one year, this action is a setback to U.S.-Russia relations. Edward Snowden will potentially do great damage to U.S. national security interests and the information he is leaking could aid terrorists and others around the world who want to do real harm to our country. Russia must return Snowden to face trial at home.”

Mr. Snowden is the former contractor at the heart of the National Security Agency information leak that highlighted the scope of the United States’ electronic surveillance program. He had been stuck in an airport in Russia for more than a month, and filed for asylum on July 16.

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