U.S. mulls ransom policy for families of overseas hostages: ABC TV

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 26, 2015 1:25 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is considering changing a U.S. policy prohibiting families of hostages held overseas from making ransom payments to abductors, according to a television report on Sunday.

"Under recommendations contained in an ongoing White House review of U.S. hostage policy, there will be absolutely zero chance ... of any family member of an American-held hostage overseas ever facing jail themselves, or even the threat of prosecution, for trying to free their loved ones," according to the report aired on ABC's "This Week."

The report said three senior U.S. officials told of the policy review, but it did not indicate when a decision might be made.

A White House official contacted by Reuters would not comment on the ABC report.

Last year, U.S. military forces unsuccessfully tried to rescue American journalist James Foley and other hostages thought to be in eastern Syria only to find that they had been moved. Foley was later executed by his Islamic State captors.

The ABC report said the policy change was under consideration after Foley's parents claimed a White House official threatened them with prosecution if they tried to deliver a ransom payment.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Rosalind Russell)