US officials make contact with American held hostage in Moscow

Paul Whelan, a former Marine and current head of global security for a Michigan auto parts company, has been accused of espionage; Whelan's brother maintains he is not a spy.
1:49 | 01/02/19

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Transcript for US officials make contact with American held hostage in Moscow
US marine behind bars and interest Moscow dungeon the Russians say he was a spy. Tonight we know US officials were allowed access to ham Paul we Lin's family says he was in Moscow for a wedding. But he is no spot. Tonight the Russians and their new claim what they say he had on him. And US authorities want to know is this Russian retaliation. ABC's chief global affairs correspondent Martha rest tonight with new reporting here. Tonight Paul Wheeling sits in a notorious Moscow prison charged with spying. The US ambassador to Russia visited him today telling we woods families he was in good condition. But secretary of state Mike Pompeo wants answers. And if the detention is not appropriate. How we will demand his immediate return. We'll end who was kicked out of the marine core ten years ago for attempted larceny is the head of global security for a Michigan auto parts company. He is visited Russia multiple times and has a social media presence there is well. This trip was personal a friend's wedding. His brother says he is a 100%. Certain his twin is not a spine I can't think of any possible reason that Paul as the rest of my. We weren't arrest follows on the heels of Russian agent Maria good teen is guilty plea in the US. Two charges of trying to infiltrate conservative political circles. So let's get to Martha Raddatz with a slot tonight from our Washington bureau and Martha what are your sources telling you tonight does the US government believe this is retaliation for Maria Bettina. While some think it very well could be David the Russians will likely present some kind of evidence fabricated or not already a Russian news agency. Is saying Whalen was caught with a classified list of Russian operatives. But if convicted will it could face up to twenty years in prison David art Martha Raddatz with us as well thank you Martha.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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