“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home,” President Biden said.
The Biden administration negotiated the release of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in order to bring Griner home. The one-for-one swap has left many shocked after U.S. officials previously expressed determination to bring both Griner and Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive jailed in Russia since 2018, back to the U.S.
Holly Jensen, a former State Department and FBI official who previously worked on the Whelan case, said it’s “no surprise” the Biden administration entered negotiations to bring Griner home.
In the video above, Jensen says these negotiations take place under every administration, and that Paul Whelan’s family should hold onto hope.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.