Washington, June 29 (ANI): The Obama administration has revealed that the President had been briefed a 'number of times' about the investigation, which led to the arrest of 11 people accused of being part of a Russian spy ring, before he took Russian President Dmitry Medvedev out to a Virginia burger joint last Thursday.
According to Fox News, US officials have said that this will have little impact on America's efforts to better relations with its Cold War foe.
"I do not believe that this will affect the reset of our relationship with Russia," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.
Earlier, the White House and the State Department both downplayed the implications of the blockbuster investigation, which had revealed an elaborate Russian intelligence plot to infiltrate the U.S. government.
State Department spokesman Phil Gordon went further, saying nobody should be surprised that secret Russian agents are operating in the country.
"I think the timing underscores that the Department of Justice is in a different channel, and the timetable was appropriate for Justice, while State is moving on the diplomatic issues," Gordon said.
The statements appeared to clash with comments from Justice officials, one of whom described the charges as "the tip of the iceberg" of a Russian intelligence conspiracy against the United States.
Earlier, the FBI had arrested ten secret agents of the Russian government living in "deep-cover" in the United States and engaged in Cold War-style espionage, in a coordinated operation.
"This was a law enforcement action and law enforcement acted appropriately," Gibbs added. (ANI)