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Obama administration officials say the arrest of 11 people accused of being part of a Russian spy ring is a mere bump in the road to better relations with America's former Cold War foe.
The White House and the State Department both downplayed the implications of the blockbuster investigation, which revealed an elaborate Russian intelligence plot to infiltrate the U.S. government. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that President Obama had been briefed a "number of times" before the arrests and was "fully and appropriately informed" of the investigation.
He said Obama knew about it even before he took Russian President Dmitry Medvedev out to a Virginia burger joint last Thursday.
Beyond that, Gibbs said the president has no "personal reaction" to the case and that the arrests should not hurt the administration's attempts to mend fences with Moscow.
White House Downplays Russian Spy Plot, Says Obama Knew Before Medvedev Visit