Five reasons the US went after 'merchant of death' Viktor Bout

Accused Russian arms trader Viktor Bout is to appear in court in New York on Wednesday. Bout has been indicted for conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist organization and of conspiring to kill US nationals. He has denied the charges.

2. Russian intelligence gathering

Bout is a former Soviet intelligence officer and likely has extensive ties to Russia’s current security apparatus. Russia’s vehement opposition to the extradition of Bout may be based on the fear that he could disclose military secrets, such as how Russia gathers intelligence in countries where Bout operated. The Pentagon also wants to get as clear a picture as possible of where power lies in Russia’s civil and military circles.

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