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Snowden Still in Moscow

Washington (ap) — Rebuffed by Russia’s president, the Obama administration toned down demands yesterday that fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden be expelled from a Moscow airport in a sign that the U.S. believes he is not worth scuttling diplomatic relations between the former Cold War enemies.

The White House issued a measured, if pointed, statement asking again that Russia help U.S. authorities capture Snowden — but stopped far short of threatening a cooling detente if he escapes.

It was a turnabout from tough talk against China a day earlier for letting Snowden flee Hong Kong instead of sending him back to the U.S. to face espionage charges for revealing classified national security surveillance programs that critics worldwide say violate privacy rights.

The outright refusals by Russia and China to cooperate on Snowden served as a fresh wake-up call to the U.S. that it cannot expect burgeoning superpowers to comply with its requests despite recent attempts to overcome longtime suspicions, and improve global partnerships.