The top US hostage affairs official on Sunday reflected on conducting the prisoner swap that led to Brittney Griner’s release, saying the WNBA star immediately thanked the crew returning her to the United States.
“When she finally got on to the US plane, I said, ‘Brittney, you must have been through a lot over the last 10 months. Here’s your seat. Please feel free to decompress. We’ll give you your space,’” Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“And she said, ‘Oh no. I’ve been in prison for 10 months now listening to Russian, I want to talk. But first of all, who are these guys?’ And she moved right past me and went to every member on that crew, looked them in the eyes, shook their hands and asked about them and got their names, making a personal connection with them. It was really amazing,” Carstens recalled. “And then later on, on an 18 hour flight, she probably spent 12 hours just talking and we talked about everything under the sun.”