Breaking: Former DEA Agent Warns Of “Tremendous” Danger Of Trading Russian Arms Dealer For Brittney Griner

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 27, 2022. More than four months after she was arrested at a Moscow airport for cannabis possession, American basketball star Brittney Griner is to appear in court Monday for a preliminary hearing ahead of her trial. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Disclaimer: This article may contain the personal views and opinions of the author.

WNBA player Brittney Griner is still being held in a Russian prison, and a potential deal could get her home.

However, a former DEA agent is warning against the trade.

The former agent, Rob “Zach” Zachariasiewicz, wrote an op-ed for USA Today. In the op-ed, he warned against making a trade for Griner with Russian arms dealer Victor Bout. Zach helped capture Bout and says he is dangerous.

“Bout, who is known as the “Merchant of Death,” provided the fuel for conflicts across the globe. He was a critical player in the global illicit arms trade not because he could obtain weapons but because he could deliver his destructive cargo anywhere in the world through his control of a private fleet of military aircraft. And he did just that,” the former DEA agent said.

“A tremendous amount of resources and political capital were spent on the critical national security investigation into Bout’s actions. Lives were placed at risk, and tireless efforts were made. Now many voices are not being adequately considered in these deliberations over whether to free Bout in exchange for an American. Those voices include an entire generation of maimed and orphaned inhabitants of war-torn countries throughout the world, especially in Africa,” he said.

Zach mentioned that President Biden and others think this trade is “appropriate, but that they are not aware of how dangerous a deal this could be.

“In a recorded undercover meeting, he declared to persons he believed to be terrorist facilitators that the United States was his sworn enemy. He offered them, as part of an extensive arsenal of heavy weapons, hundreds of surface-to-air missiles to be used against U.S. military advisers and the Colombian military,” the former agent said.

Bout’s potential re-engagement in the arms trade is not the primary national security implication to be considered. Rather, it is the negative and resounding message that such a capitulation would send.”

“Negotiating for Bout’s release is a feckless and shortsighted foreign policy. Such actions merely encourage our adversaries to engage in the kidnapping, illegal detention, and ransoming of American citizens throughout the world. Organizations such as Hezbollah, drug cartels, and the Russian Federal Security Service are emboldened when their criminal actions are rewarded. We must make abundantly clear that there is nothing to be gained by engaging in these criminal actions,” he said.

Zach argues that this would be a betrayal of the people who risked their lives to arrest Bout.

“We also must find ways to discourage our citizens from needlessly placing themselves in harm’s way – whether missionaries looking to spread goodwill, adventure seekers chasing a unique experience or the vulnerable succumbing to criminal scams. I speak from experience, as I dedicated nearly three years to seeking the successful release of an innocent American citizen jailed overseas,” the former agent said.

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