May 21, 2024


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US Says Putin’s Freed ‘Merchant Of Death’ Is Not Listed As ‘Terrorist’ Despite Being Convicted Of Conspiring To Kill Americans

US Says Putin's Freed 'Merchant Of Death' Is Not Listed As 'Terrorist' Despite Being Convicted Of Conspiring To Kill Americans

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the U.S. does not consider freed ‘Merchant Of Death,’ Viktor Bout, a terrorist despite being convicted in America for conspiring to kill its citizens.

What Happened: Bout, a former K.G.B. officer and a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was freed by the U.S. in exchange for American basketball star Brittney Griner on Thursday from detainment in Moscow.

Bout was serving a prison sentence in America since 2011 after being convicted of conspiring to kill Americans, conspiracy to deliver anti-aircraft missiles and aiding a terrorist organization.

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During a White House press briefing, Sullivan was asked, “Does the (Biden) administration consider Viktor Bour a terrorist,” to which he replied, “What we consider him to have been was a convicted criminal convicted of arms trafficking and other crimes” – noting that Bout is not listed as a “Specially Designated National.”

“Before we make any determination about whether to send somebody back as part of a deal to get an American home, we make a determination about the national security implications of that.”

“We did that assessment in this case,” Sullivan said, adding, “We believe we can manage those challenges, but we will remain constantly vigilant against any threat that Viktor Bout may pose to Americans, to the United States going forward.”

The White House would return to negotiation with the Kremlin “this week” to release former marine Paul Whelan, who was arrested in Russia in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years for espionage charges.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Europe and Asia coverage by following this link.