‘In the Shadows’: Behind the high-stakes work to free Americans held captive abroad

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Excerpted from “In the Shadows: True Stories of High-Stakes Negotiations to Free Americans Captured Abroad” by Mickey Bergman and Ellis Henican.

Jon Finer looked surprised.

“Vinnik?” he asked me. “Are you sure it’s Vinnik?”

That clearly wasn’t the name the White House deputy national security adviser was hearing from the official channel at the State Department. “The Russians want to trade Bout and Vinnik for Griner and Whelan?”

“I’m sure that’s what they said. They were the ones who brought it up.”

Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, sits inside a defendant’s cage during the reading of the court’s verdict in Russia, Aug. 4, 2022. (Reuters/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool)

That’s when Guv jumped in. “Why, Jon?” he asked. “Is that a good deal? Would you take that

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