Today, the Washington Times published my editorial piece on the potential release of Viktor Bout, also known as the “Merchant of Death,” from a Thai prison. Many US and international agencies believe Bout poses a significant threat to our national security, and I could agree more.
If Americans think we have problems with the recent disruption of a suspected terrorist cell in New York, they haven’t seen anything yet.
An appellate court in Thailand appears primed to uphold a recent lower court ruling that will unleash Viktor Bout, universally known as the “Merchant of Death,” back on the global community. To say that Bout is upset with the United States after spending more than a year in a Thai prison would be a gross understatement.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Council (NSC) and the Department of State, not to mention the United Nations, many other countries and several international human rights groups, had been tracking Bout for several years, and all believed he posed a formidable risk to our national security and the global community.
Bout, whose legendary character is the basis for the movie “Lord of War” and the subject of the highly successful book “Merchant of Death,” has been held in prison since his arrest by Thai authorities. Bout, who many intelligence experts think is a former KGB agent, fell for an extraordinarily complex DEA undercover operation that lured him from Russia to Thailand for the sake of consummating a major arms deal with undercover DEA operatives, who he thought were representing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Read the full op-ed from Michael Braun at WashingtonTimes.com.