The White House on Sunday walked back comments from President Biden that he’d be “open” to exchanging cybercriminals with Russia.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told press aboard Air Force One that Biden was not talking about “exchanges or swaps” when he seemed receptive to Vladimir Putin’s offer that the Kremlin would extradite cybercriminals if the US would respond in kind.
“He’s not saying he’s going to be exchanging cybercriminals with Russia,” Sullivan said of Biden.
“There’s no cybercriminals who have committed crimes in Russia he’s looking at, thinking, ‘I’m going to exchange them,’ ” Sullivan said.
“I’m open to it if there’s crimes committed against Russia,” Biden said.
But after the comments were widely circulated, Sullivan said the president wasn’t responding to the specific proposal of exchanging criminals.
“What he was saying was that if Vladimir Putin wants to come and say ‘I’m prepared to make sure cybercriminals are held accountable,’ Joe Biden is perfectly willing to show up and say ‘cybercriminals will be held accountable in America’ – because they already are,” Sullivan said