Paul Whelan’s family is concerned about the American detainee after he dropped out of contact from the Russian prison camp where he’s being held. The Biden administration said it is “deeply concerned” that Whelan has gone silent.
“We have been trying to get more information about Mr. Whelan’s condition and his whereabouts. And as we speak this morning, regrettably, we do not have an update specifically about where he is or what condition he’s in,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said in a telephone briefing on Wednesday.
“That deeply concerns us and we certainly share the anxiety and the concern of the land and family,” Kirby added. “We are deeply concerned about the lack of information and the lack of contact from Paul, and we’re working on it as hard as we can through the diplomatic channels.”
Whelan’s brother, David Whelan, said on Tuesday that the camp authorities said they moved Whelan to a prison hospital but did not provide an explanation. In a statement, he said the family fears Whelan could have suffered a sudden medical emergency or that the prison authorities might be lying to conceal that Whelan was now in solitary confinement or otherwise held and not allowed to communicate.
Whelan has been held in at Correctional Colony 17 — a prison camp in the Mordovia region around 300 miles from Moscow — for more than two years. His family became alarmed after Whelan missed scheduled calls with his parents and the U.S. embassy last week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the last time U.S. officials spoke to Whelan was on November 16th. “We’ve not had contact since then. We’ve asked for it. We’re pursuing it single day.”
The U.S. is seeking to negotiate Whelan’s release as well as the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been in Russian detention since February. Russia has signaled it wants to trade Whelan and Griner in a prisoner exchange for Russians imprisoned in the U.S., but efforts to reach a deal have not yet been successful.
This latest development is yet another example of the Biden administration’s inability to stand up to Russia and protect American citizens. As Fox News personalities Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham have consistently pointed out, the Biden administration is weak and indecisive, and their inability to secure the release of Paul Whelan is just the latest example of this.
Instead of standing up to Russia and demanding the release of Whelan and Griner, the Biden administration is meekly negotiating with the Russians and getting nowhere.
It’s time for the Biden administration to take a stronger stance and hold Russia accountable for its actions. As patriotic Republicans, it’s our duty to hold the Biden administration accountable for its failure to protect American citizens.