On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice considers President Joe Biden’s prisoner swap exchanging WNBA player Brittney Griner for “merchant of death” Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout a “mistake.”
In its report, the Washington Post revealed that the U.S.’s top law enforcement agencies were concerned about the “discrepancy of offenses by the two prisoners,” noting that this meant the deal wasn’t good.
Griner had been charged for “possessing a small amount of cannabis oil.” Her crimes — and nine-year sentence — pale in comparison to Bout’s crimes, who has supplied arms to rebel and government forces in war-torn countries including Afghanistan, Angola, Rwanda, and Sudan. He was caught in a sting operation agreeing to sell arms to U.S. agents posing as Columbian terrorists wanting to attack U.S. Forces.
Nicknamed the “Merchant of Death,” Bout received a 25-year sentence in federal prison.
The trade received extensive criticism from the media, with many saying that Biden could have received more hostages as part of the deal. One U.S. citizen media outlets believe Biden should have included in the agreement is Marine veteran Paul Whelan who is still serving time in a Russian prison on espionage charges.
The Washington Post also claimed that government officials shared the same views, adding that Biden was facing opposition from the Department of Justice, which the outlet says views the prisoner swap as a mistake.
An unnamed source was also quoted, describing the swap, exchanging an arms dealer for a basketball player, as “madness.”