Even the PENTAGON fears Viktor Bout’s ‘Merchant of Death’ Viktor Bout will return to selling arms. Republicans warn Americans in detention abroad that they could be used as a ‘bargaining chip’ following Griner swap
- Pentagon officials fear Viktor Bout, the ‘Merchant of Death’, will return to selling arms after he was released in exchange for Brittney Griner, the WNBA star.
- “I believe there is a concern that…” [he] “Will return to the same type of work he did in the past,” a DOD official told Politico on Thursday
- At least one Democrat and a few Republicans warned that Americans held abroad could be used after the prisoner swap as ‘bargaining chips.
Officials at Pentagon fear Viktor Bout, the ‘Merchant of Death,’ will return to selling arms after he was released from a federal prison in Illinois as part of a prisoner swap to free Brittney Griner, WNBA star, from a Russian penal colony.
“I believe there is concern that [he] “Will return to doing the same type of work as he did in previous years,” said a senior Defense Department official. told Politico Thursday.
At least one Democrat and a few Republicans warned that Americans held abroad could be used after the prisoner swap as ‘bargaining chips.
Democratic New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez said, “We cannot ignore the fact that Bout was released back into the wild is a deeply concerning decision.” ‘We must stop inviting dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans overseas as bargaining chips, and we must try do better at encouraging American citizens against traveling to places like Russia where they are primary targets for this type of unlawful detention.’
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, A similar warning was issued.
Officials at Pentagon are concerned that Viktor Bout, aka the ‘Merchant of Death,’ will sell arms again after he was released in a prisoner exchange to get Brittney Griner (WNBA star) out of a Russian penal colonies.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez (left), as well as Republican Rep. Mike Rogers (right), raised alarm about Americans being held abroad and used as bargaining chips in the wake of the Biden administration’s swap for Viktor Bout to Brittney Griner.
Rogers stated Thursday that Viktor Bout (a dangerous arms dealer who was convicted in the conspiracy to kill American law enforcement) was allowed to walk free by the Biden administration. This move to appease Vladimir Putin will only encourage more hostage taking by Russian security force.
Rogers and a number of other Republicans also expressed dismay that Griner – who was convicted of possessing two cartridges of cannabis oil while entering Russia in February – was prioritized over former Marine Paul Whelan, who remains in Russian prison.
Rogers said, “While I am happy for Brittney Griner’s release, I cannot help but think of Paul Whelan, as he has apparently fallen prey to the Biden administration.”
During Thursday’s press briefing, Karine Jean Pierre, White House press secretary stated that ‘the Russians weren’t willing to negotiate in faith for the release Paul Whelan at the moment.
Bout was sentenced for conspiring to murder Americans, delivering missiles anti-aircraft and aiding a terrorist group. He was serving a 25 year sentence.
He Served for five years.
Bout, a former Russian military officer formed Air Cess in 1995 and supplied arms across Africa to fighters on both the sides of a conflict.
Jean-Pierre was questioned Thursday about whether President Joe Biden was given a risk assessment of how dangerous Bout would become if he was allowed to go.
“This is not a decision that the president took lightly. Jean-Pierre stated, “I just want to be very clear about that.” ‘We will always remain vigilant about national security.
“That was true yesterday.” It’s true today. And that will be true after Mr. Bout’s release,’ she added.
Jean-Pierre refused to answer questions about whether the president had been briefed on the danger Bout’s release might pose to the world.