In a move that feels more Hollywood script than international diplomacy, the Biden administration has allegedly offered Russian officials the prisoner who inspired the Nicolas Cage illegal arms film Lord of War in exchange for WNBA star Brittney Griner.
According to Forbes via brobible, Viktor Bout, a Russian national and the so-called Merchant of Death, was convicted in 2011 of conspiring to sell millions of dollars in arms to FARC, a South American terrorist group. Bout has not yet served half of his 25-year sentence.
Griner, meanwhile, allegedly carried illegal hashish oils in a vape cartridge as she tried to enter Russia, where she plays professional basketball during the WNBA offseason. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.
The Biden administration is considering a prisoner swap that would free Brittney Griner from detention in Russia in exchange for notorious illegal arms dealer Viktor Bout, according to sources and Russian media. https://t.co/plJDCSoOaX
— Forbes (@Forbes) May 19, 2022
Forbes cautions that “negotiations are in the early stages” and that a spokesman for the US State Department, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, and Bout’s attorney all had no comment. Griner’s agent also did not respond to a request for comment.
Last week, Alejandro Avila and Gary Sheffield, Jr. of OutKick reported that various people and groups here in America, including the NBA, have put pressure on the president to do more to bring Griner home. A willingness to relinquish custody of a convicted arms dealer who trafficked with terrorists certainly indicates that the Biden administration is desperate to bring her home.