Victor Bout's prisoner swap sparks 'arms dealing' fears, Internet says 'he's probably back in the job'
OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON: Authorities have raised their concerns regarding swapping Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in a prisoner swap that led to the return of WNBA player Brittney Griner to the US. Bout has been infamous for his ties with Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Hezbollah.
According to New York Post, he was arrested in Thailand in 2008. Bout was arrested after Drug Enforcement Administration agents enacted as Colombian rebels. They lured him to discuss a deal to sell up to $20 million in weapons to the FARC narco-terrorist group. The deal also included surface-to-air missiles to shoot down US helicopters. However, in 2011 he was convicted of all charges and was sentenced to 25 years in prison the following year.
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A senior defense official said, “I think there is a concern that he would return to doing the same kind of work that he’s done in the past." Bout had great associations with Liberian warlord Charles Taylor and longtime Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The official also added, “We heard the news, and you know, every Africanist who’s kind of been working on this for — for years and years for — you know, probably had a little — a little piece, a — a flutter of — of disappointment inside. "
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “We cannot ignore that releasing Bout back into the world is deeply disturbing. We must stop inviting dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans overseas as bargaining chips, and we must try do better at encouraging American citizens against traveling to places like Russia where they are primary targets for this type of unlawful detention.”
He added, “I am relieved that Ms. Griner will be returned home safely,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul (R-Texas). “However, trading Viktor Bout – a dangerous convicted arms dealer who was in prison for conspiring to kill Americans – will only embolden Vladimir Putin to continue his evil practice of taking innocent Americans hostage for use as political pawns.” John Bolton, former POTUS Donald Trump’s national security adviser, claimed, “This is not what American strength looks like; Terrorists and rogue states are smiling.”
“I don’t think governments around the world would be wise to draw that inference,” the official said. “But in the rare case when there is an imperative to bring Americans home – which is a real priority for this president – there sometimes are no alternatives left, and a heavy price has to have to be paid.”
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, claimed, “We’re going to make sure that we can defend this country against any and all threats. And so, with Mr. Bout being back on the street, we’re going to stay focused on making sure we can defend this country.” The Russian ministry of defense has been trying to get Bout back for a long time.
The ministry stated in a statement, "Washington was categorically refusing to engage in dialogue on putting the Russian national on the exchange scheme. Nevertheless, the Russian Federation continued to actively work towards the release of our fellow countryman.”
'He is already making deals lol'
The Internet quickly reacted to the recent release of Viktor. A user said, "He is already making deals lol." Another wrote, "Of course he's going to start arms dealing again." A user stated, "You freed a Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, who’s known as the “Merchant of Death.” You played right into Putin’s hands. It’s a very real possibility that terrorists could come into our country — through the open border — carrying weapons provided by Viktor Bout." Further, a tweet claimed, "I'm sure no one is tracking him at all. I'm sure allow his accounts have not been frozen and seized. I'm sure he will live a long time." A user explained, "Makes no difference, that void done got filled." A user said, "Fearing the obvious. Of course he will..." Another claimed, "He’s probably already back in the job. Shocking."
He is already making deals lol— Jared Brehm (@JaredBrehm) December 8, 2022
Of course he's going to start arms dealing again. pic.twitter.com/nVf0xgrooq— BuckeyeFinFan (@BuckeyeFin) December 8, 2022
You freed a Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, who’s known as the “Merchant of Death.”— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) December 8, 2022
You played right into Putin’s hands.
It’s a very real possibility that terrorists could come into our country — through the open border — carrying weapons provided by Viktor Bout.
I'm sure no one is tracking him at all. I'm sure allow his accounts have not been frozen and seized. I'm sure he will live a long time.— JJTP (@TheJJTP) December 8, 2022
Makes no difference, that void done got filled.— BlackSwann (@thechange101) December 8, 2022
Fearing the obvious. Of course he will...— Nemzee (@ChiranduEN) December 8, 2022
He’s probably already back in the job. Shocking.— EssexCountyFAL (@bjl2855) December 8, 2022
This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.