Pompeo compared the trade by President Joe Biden to the prisoner swap policy under former President Donald Trump’s administration while speaking with Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday.
“We weren’t going to trade bad guys for celebrities because it creates the wrong incentives for the bad guys. As we go forward, it’s not good for American national security. It’s not good for people who are traveling across the world,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo expressed relief that Griner has been freed from Russia but lamented the terms of the deal and that the United States did not receive more for the so-called Merchant of Death. The deal has also been criticized for not including former Marine Paul Whelan.
Pompeo declined to confirm John Bolton’s recent comments saying the Trump administration had turned down a one-for-one trade of Whelan for Bout.
The prisoner swap was widely criticized by several lawmakers, who argued freeing Bout was a national security risk and believed too much was given up for Griner’s release.