Biden Hostage Affairs Envoy Says Griner ‘Patriotic Person’

The Biden administration is being criticized for a prisoner swap in which a WNBA star who called for an end to the playing of the National anthem for games was exchanged for a convicted arms dealer while an ex-Marine was left behind.

  • WNBA star Brittney Griner, also a two-time U.S. Olympic champion, was released Thursday from a Russia penal colony.
  • Roger Carstens, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs who helped secure Griner’s release and bring her back to the U.S., said he first met her on the long flight back to the U.S.
  • “I was left with the impression this is an intelligent, passionate, compassionate, humble, interesting person, a patriotic person,” Carstens said. “But above all, authentic. I hate the fact that I had to meet her in this manner, but I actually felt blessed having had a chance to get to know her.”
  • Griner was arrested in February for attempting to bring a vape cartridge containing cannabis into Russia and pleaded guilty in July to the charge.
  • She spent about 1o months behind bars in Russia, where former Marine Paul Whelan remains.
  • Griner protested the playing of the anthem amid to 2020 social justice protests.