Mike Pompeo, a former Secretary of State, stepped up to hurl criticism at the Biden administration due to its recent choice to initiate a prisoner swap of American WNBA player Brittney Griner for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer known worldwide as the “Merchant of Death.”
Pompeo expressed his extreme criticism during a “Fox News Sunday” interview alongside host Shannon Bream.
“We weren’t going to trade bad guys for celebrities because it creates the wrong incentives for the bad guys. As we go forward, it’s not good for American national security. It’s not good for people who are traveling across the world,” stated Pompeo.
WATCH: Former Secretary of State @mikepompeo joined @ShannonBream on #FoxNewsSunday to react to Brittney Griner's release and China's developing relationship with Saudi Arabia. Plus, he shares his thoughts on the future of the Republican Party as well as his 2024 plans. pic.twitter.com/gGjEzcy54n
— Fox News Sunday (@FoxNewsSunday) December 11, 2022
Griner saw release after being held in the custody of Russian officials for well over ten months for the crime of bringing cartridges of cannabis oil into the country just prior to the Kremlin kicking off its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
The WNBA superstar was sentenced to a sting of nine years in a Russian penal colony for her crime. The Biden administration took part in talks over the course of multiple months with the leaders of Russia in order to finalize the release of the sports star.
The announcement about the Griner prison swap was made public this past Thursday. A number of Americans celebrated her announcement of freedom, but many more were heavily critical of the trade.
Bout was in the middle of serving a sentence of 25 years in prison in the United States on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles, and aiding a terrorist organization. A good number of worries remain that the Merchant of Death could soon go right back to his former role.
“[W]e cannot ignore that releasing Bout back into the world is a deeply disturbing decision,” stated Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in a release. “We must stop inviting dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans overseas as bargaining chips, and we must try do (sic) better at encouraging American citizens against traveling to places like Russia where they are primary targets for this type of unlawful detention.”
Robert Zachariasiewicz, a Former DEA agent, stated to The Washington Post that he was entirely against the prisoner swap due to the message it could end up sending to the leaders of Russia.
“We just showed that it is really useful to have an American in your back pocket because you never know when you need them to trade,” expressed Zachariasiewicz.
John Bolton, a former National Security Advisor, also stepped up to openly criticize the arrangement.
“This is not a deal. This is not a swap. This is a surrender. And terrorists and rogue states all around the world will take note of this, and it endangers other Americans in the future who can be grabbed and used as bargaining chips by people who don’t have the same morals and scruples that we do,” stated Bolton during an interview held with CBS.
A number of others have shouted out their frustrations that former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan still sits imprisoned in Russia and was not made part of any prisoner swap deals.
“I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four-year anniversary of my arrest is coming up. I was arrested for a crime that never occurred,” exclaimed Whelan. “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”