The brother of an American detained in Russia for espionage appeared on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday to plead his sibling’s innocence and said there’s no way he could possibly be a spy.
David Whelan said his brother Paul Whelan served as a United States Marine and was fond of international travelling, but would never do anything to violate the Espionage Act. (RELATED: American Man Being Held In Russia On Charges Of Espionage)
“Paul is a person who likes to travel the world. And he’s a kind and a generous person. And when a friend of his, a former marine asked him to help with a wedding ceremony that he was going to be having in Moscow, Paul agreed to help because Paul had already been to Russia a number of times,” he said.
“He knew where the sights were and how to get around the town. And was able to help this friend and his family to have a better experience. So Paul flew into Moscow on the 21st of December to be part of that wedding party,” he added.
Host Steve Doocy asked what kind of work David Whelan’s brother did and he said he worked in “corporate security,” but that he didn’t know much else.
“His work did take him to Russia. He is in what is called corporate security. I’m a librarian so that’s not really familiar territory to me,” he replied. “My understanding from the stories he told me is that he would visit physical plants for his company — plants either operated by the company or subsidiaries — and just check the physical security — broken windows, ability of people to get access to the building, that sort of thing. And so he traveled to many countries around the world in addition to his personal travel.”
David Whelan also said he had to find out from Google that his brother had been arrested and claimed he and his family were never formally notified of his detention.
“It was Monday morning when I did a Google search and found that the Russian ministry had announced that it had arrested him as a potential spy,” he said. “The U.S. State Department put out a statement on the issue and said: We are aware of the detention of a U.S. citizen by Russian authorities. Russia’s obligations under the Vienna Convention require them to provide consular access. We have requested this access and expect them to provide it.”
David Whelan said he recently learned his brother had left the Marines due to bad conduct but says that still doesn’t prove he’s a spy.
“I learned yesterday that he left under — I think it’s the bad conduct discharge,” he said. “That was news to me. But I think all of us have things in our past that maybe detract from our better selves and that’s perhaps why I didn’t know about it.”
“I’m sure my brother’s not a spy,” David Whelan concluded. “Paul’s background is in law enforcement. He has military experience. He’s in corporate security. He’s one of the people I would say knows very well about risks when traveling or being in foreign countries or being in any kind of situation. And I just can’t imagine him getting sideways of the law in Russia or doing anything anywhere close to breaking an Espionage Act.”
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