Here is what we know about Paul Whelan and his arrest in Russia.
- A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Whelan was deployed twice to Iraq before he was court-martialed by the Marine Corps in 2008 on charges of attempting to steal more than $10,000 worth of currency and bouncing checks up to $6000, resulting in a discharge for bad conduct.
- Whelan is head of physical and personnel security for BorgWarner, an auto parts manufacturer. Previously worked for Kelly Services.
- Whelan holds passports from four countries: the United States, Britain, Canada, and Ireland.
- He has visited Russia “every six months or so” since 2006.
- He has an account on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook. Most contacts are in the Russian military.
- The American ambassador to Russia has visited him in Lefortovo Prison; Britain and Ireland are seeking consular access.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for an explanation for Mr Whelan’s detention and said his release would be demanded if his detention is found to be inappropriate.
- He is accused of receiving a usb stick containing the names of people at a “classified security agency.” But Russia is known to plant false information.
- Lawyer: Vladimir A. Zherebenkov. He suggested that Whelan might be exchanged for Maria Butina.
- His brother says he is not a spy.
Adam posted a reasonable analysis a couple of days ago. I’ve condensed it, but you can find the full comment at the link. Read more