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U.S. Official: Spy Swap An 'Opportunity' For U.S.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has defended last week's spy swap, in which 10 suspected Russian spies were exchanged for four Russia prisoners accused of spying for the West, as an "opportunity" to get back people in whom the United States has "a great deal of interest."

Holder also said the children of the Russian agents, some of whom are U.S. citizens, were allowed to return to Russia "consistent with their parents' wishes" or, if they were adults or nearly adults, were allowed to make their own decisions.

The 10 Russian suspects on July 7 pleaded guilty to being unregistered agents of a foreign government, a lesser charge than spying, and were ordered to leave the country immediately.

The U.S. government has confirmed that the exchange between the United States and Russia took place in Vienna, Austria, on July 9.

compiled from agency reports