WASHINGTON – The top U.S. emergency response agency moved to quell a flurry of Internet-driven speculation this week that Russian security teams could be deployed at large public events in the United States, saying the two countries will not swap security guards or soldiers under a long-running partnership agreement.
There will be "no exchange of security or military personnel" under a recently renewed partnership between the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry, a FEMA spokesman told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
"The agreement continues information-sharing meetings and observation opportunities with first responders and emergency managers," the spokesman said.
Picking up on an Emergency Situations Ministry statement last week declaring that partnership agreement "envisages the exchange of experience" in "the provision of security at mass events," numerous websites suspicious of the US governments' encroachment on its citizens' rights suggested the deal means Russian security guards could be deployed at major public gatherings.
The libertarian website Infowars.com, run by radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, proposed these events could include US presidential inaugurations and the Super Bowl.
The FEMA spokesman said that while the US agency will not exchange security or military personnel with its Russian counterpart, the two sides last week "agreed to an exchange of emergency management experts to share best practices – a continuation of a 17 year partnership."