Senior law enforcement officials argued that Viktor Bout's release in exchange for Brittney Griner would be a mistake, report says




  • In Politics
  • 2022-12-09 13:46:27Z
  • By Business Insider
 
Brittney Grinet Cherelle Griner
Brittney Grinet Cherelle Griner  
  • WNBA star Brittney Griner was swapped for arms dealer Viktor Bout on Thursday.

  • Her release marked the end of prolonged and agonizing negotiations for Biden, CNN reported.

  • Some senior officials told Biden they thought Russia was getting the better deal, the outlet said.

President Joe Biden faced push-back from some senior officials before making the decision to release Brittney Griner from a Russian penal colony in a prisoner swap, CNN reported.

The US government said on Thursday that it had agreed to the swap with Russia, exchanging Griner - an eight-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist - for the release of notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout.

But some senior law enforcement officials told Biden prior to his decision that Bout was too notorious of a figure to release in exchange for Griner, whose offense was only minor, one official told CNN.

Griner was first detained at a Moscow airport in February after being found carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She was found guilty of drug smuggling in early August and sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony.

Her release marked the end of prolonged and agonizing negotiations for Biden, CNN reported.

Officials from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration were not only frustrated at the prospect of releasing such a notorious criminal as Bout, but were also concerned about the precedent the deal could set, CNN reported.

Known as the "Merchant of Death," Bout is infamous for supplying rebel groups and terrorist organizations with weapons that fueled bloody wars across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

He was caught and arrested in Thailand in 2008 after a US Drug Enforcement Agency sting operation.

Bout had served more than 10 years of his minimum 25-year sentence for conspiring to provide "material support" to a terrorist organization, promising to supply them with anti-aircraft missiles, and engaging in a plot to kill Americans and US officials.

Some Republican politicians also criticized the prison swap, with former President Donald Trump calling the exchange a "'stupid' and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA."

"What kind of a deal is it to swap Brittney Griner, a basketball player who openly hates our country for the man known as 'The Merchant of Death,'" Trump wrote in a post on his social media website Truth Social.

Griner arrived on US soil shortly after 5:30 a.m. ET on Friday in San Antonio, Texas, Sky News reported.

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  • Georgia bulldogs Leather Jacket
    (2022-12-10 11:41:21Z)


    "Something is happening in the crowd." It is then captured on the screen of a cart running along the course without a person on it. The cart turns right along the slope and descends.

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