(PresidentialHill.com)- Five Russians and two Americans were indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on conspiracy and other charges in what appears to be an effort to gather some negotiating power for potential future swap agreements with Moscow.
According to Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, “it’s good to see that the Biden administration started to go more aggressively after the Russian criminals who violate the law and ultimately undermine U.S. security because, so far, they have only made bad deals with the Russians.”
The issue is that the FBI and DOJ acted too quickly when they recently indicted five Russians and two Americans of Russian descent, raising the possibility that other factors were at play.
The DOJ claims that only three defendants are currently held by law enforcement, not the entire list of people named in the indictment.
The seven people are accused of smuggling, violating laws governing the transportation of electronics, conspiring to defraud the US of the enforcement of export controls and economic sanctions, and violating the Export Control Reform Act.
More specifically, the main suspects are charged with conspiring to obtain military-grade and dual-use technology for use in Russia’s defense industry, laundering money on behalf of the Russian government, and smuggling ammunition for sniper rifles.
Lisa Monaco, the deputy attorney general, declared that her office has demonstrated “once again that we will relentlessly pursue those who support the Russian war machine by dodging sanctions and export controls.”
Koffler claims that the timing of the indictment, which came before all those charged had been fully apprehended, may point to reasons other than the DOJ simply wanting to score a victory.
Koffler speculated that the White House might be under pressure to free Paul Whelan, the Marine the U.S. government de-prioritized even though he was supposed to be exchanged before Griner.
Koffler said the recent Griner-Bout prisoner swap was utterly lopsided, favoring Russia. She said in exchange for a famous athlete, Biden gave Putin a dangerous criminal who planned to kill Americans. Last year, the Biden administration also turned over the high-profile, highly skilled cybercriminal Viktor Burkov, who defrauded American customers and businesses out of $20 million.