“CBS first learned this exchange was going to happen last Thursday,” Brennan said. “CBS News has agreed that the Briner-for-Bout exchange is ongoing … we will not disclose that information.”
“This was at the request of the White House, which asked us not to disclose it because officials said they were deeply concerned about the fragility of the emerging deal and feared it would compromise security — possibly endanger Americans. Brennan added.
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CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King told Brennan, “It’s very exciting, and we’ve certainly kept our word on that.”
Brennan said President Joe Biden “authorized this exchange last week.”
The US government plane carrying Bhutto flew to the United Arab Emirates, an “agreed neutral ground,” Brennan said. The Russian plane carrying Griner also flew to the UAE.
Griner was then taken to a US military base where he would undergo a medical examination after being held captive for 10 months on drug charges.
Brennan said the proposed prisoner exchange has accelerated after a long period of inactivity over the past few weeks.
Brennan said the exchange was a “one-for-one exchange” and did not include Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan, who remains imprisoned in Russia.
The prisoner swap comes despite US-Russia relations hitting their lowest level since the Cold War following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.