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July 1, 2013

Putin: Snowdon must stop leaking secrets to stay

(Continued)

MOSCOW —

Despite the rhetoric, the threat to the trade negotiations is likely to be minimal. For one, technical negotiations often proceed at a level largely detached from political considerations and so far, there have been no EU plans to let the first round of the trans-Atlantic free trade talks from fall victim to discord over the snooping scandal. Such talks traditionally need to develop a momentum of their own and would suffer huge delays if they were held up each time there was political strike between the parties.

The U.S. government is organizing the first round from July 8-12 in Washington.

France is far less eager for a deal than Germany, and Hollande could face pressure from parties on the left that he often needs to pass legislation. The country's ecology party — which has two ministers in government — said Snowden should be given political asylum in France. France's far left party, Leftist Front, also called for asylum. Snowden has been in a no man's land at Moscow's airport for days.

According to the Der Spiegel report on Sunday, the NSA planted bugs in the EU's diplomatic offices in Washington and infiltrated the building's computer network. Similar measures were taken at the EU's mission to the United Nations in New York, the magazine said.

It also reported that the NSA used secure facilities at NATO headquarters in Brussels to dial into telephone maintenance systems that would have allowed it to intercept senior officials' calls and Internet traffic at a key EU office nearby.

The Spiegel report cited classified U.S. documents taken by Snowden that the magazine said it had partly seen. It did not publish the alleged NSA documents it cited nor say how it obtained access to them.

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