Report: US to Stop Prosecuting Families for Trying to Free Hostages

Administration Had Threatened Parents of Slain Journalist

Preliminary reports on the Obama Administration changing hostage policy suggest they will formally stop prosecuting or threatening to prosecute family members of American hostages if they make efforts to ransom or otherwise secure the release of those hostages.

Diane Foley, the mother of slain journalist James Foley, reported she was threatened by the Obama Administration repeatedly over attempts to secure her son’s release, saying they the family could face prosecution if they paid a ransom to hostage-takers.

The administration has been keen to claim ransoms paid are tantamount to supporting terrorism, though they have tended to look the other way when ransoms end up being paid by allied countries or foreign companies to recover hostages.

They are likely facing more pressure to revise their policy vis-a-vis hostages after several botched rescue attempts, and a January drone strike which randomly killed a pair of hostages they had no clue were even present. Though there hasn’t been a formal announcement, ABC News quoted an unnamed official saying there was “zero chance” of a prosecution for any family members for trying to free hostages.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of