"The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials," The New York Times reported Thursday.
President Obama has canceled a one-on-one September summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House says.
It's the most dramatic effect so far on U.S.-Russian relations in the wake of Russia's decision to grant "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden temporary asylum while he tries to get safe haven in some third country.
"We don't have a domestic spying program," Obama said on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack. ... That information is useful."
The Obama administration's weekend decision to close diplomatic posts from Central Asia through the Middle East and into North Africa has led to applause from "rattled lawmakers in both parties," The Washington Post writes.
U.S.-Russia relations hit a new low this week, when Moscow ignored U.S. requests and gave temporary asylum to a man who leaked classified documents on U.S. government surveillance programs.
Many in Congress are complaining that the Edward Snowden case is just the latest example of how the Kremlin is thumbing its nose at the White House.
The Obama administration famously reset relations with Russia when Dmitry Medvedev was president. But now that Russian President Vladimir Putin is back in the Kremlin, it seems to be having a more difficult time.