Russian Official Tweets Victoria Nuland Clip, Sparks Diplomatic Outrage

Russian Tweet Victoria Nuland

The latest diplomatic row between Europe and the United States involving surveillance flipped the script a bit.

An audio recording of American diplomat Victoria Nuland sparked outrage when it emerged on Twitter Thursday. In the clip, Nuland discusses the future of Ukraine with the U.S. ambassador there, using the phrase “F*** the E.U.” and sounding like a political boss organizing precincts.

Nuland is Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, so her comments carry some weight, and on their own are controversial enough.

But an added twist is causing this spat to circle back to the fight over U.S. surveillance last year, when leaks revealed that the American government was spying on communications involving top European officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But today, the U.S. government is accusing the Russians of spying. The evidence? A tweet.

Dmitry Loskutov is an aide to Russia’s deputy prime minister. That tweet appears to be where the audio recording originated.

After that connection was obvious, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had this to say Thursday: “”I would say that since the video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government, I think it says something about Russia’s role.”

New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker used Twitter to interview Loskutov.

Whether or not it was indeed Russian espionage responsible for the recording and its release, social media played a critical role in its dissemination – and even the subsequent reporting, when a journalist was able to communicate directly with a Russian official via Twitter.

But if they did have a hand in this, the Russians might want to remember to keep the social media use to non-government folks in the future.

[photo credit: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών]


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