The federal government will stop threatening families with criminal prosecution for attempting to pay ransom for loved ones taken hostage by terrorist groups, President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday in an executive order clarifying and changing the way the government handles hostage situations. The sweeping new policy is due to “an idiot” at the Department of State, an official close to the review process told The Daily Caller News Foundation– and “it’s going to encourage more kidnappings of U.S. service members and U.S. diplomats stationed abroad, and it’s going to make Americans targets.”
The changes are the result of an extensive review of federal policy regarding hostages abroad. Obama ordered the review in December after frustrated family members of current and former hostages complained about the process, and in light of changing national security realities, such as the rise of ISIS, since the policy was written in 2000.
The official told TheDCNF that the Justice Department has not wanted to issue blanket immunity because there are times when a duress defense would not hold up in court, such as if the a family crowd-sourced for ransom money. That, the officials said, is because providing material support to terrorists is a blatant violation of U.S. law. Other agencies also opposed the change.
It’s long been an unofficial policy to turn the other way if a family tries to pay a ransom, but making that policy official could prove problematic if non-family members try to get financially involved or if family members try to solicit the public for the money they need to pay a ransom.
“This is really media-driven,” the official told TheDCNF. “The White House wants this issue to go away.” (Read more from “Report: Sweeping New Hostage Policy Due to ‘Idiot’ at State Dept, WILL Harm Americans” HERE)