Eagle-eyed critics noticed something unusual about the video Russian state news agency TASS published showing the prisoner exchange of WNBA player Brittney Griner for convicted terrorist Viktor Bout, also known as the “merchant of death.”
In the 26-second clip, Griner and Bout appear on an airport runway in the United Arab Emirates walking towards each other. The former, in a red jacket, is accompanied by three men, while the latter walks toward her with one individual.
One of the men with Griner immediately approaches Bout, shakes his hand and gives him a hug. Bout then greets the second man with Griner, and then the video cuts to Griner walking away with the man Bout originally came off the plane with.
In 2010, “60 Minutes” reported on Bout’s capture, with Michael Braun, the former chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, describing him as “one of the most dangerous men on the face of the earth.”