Following through on pledges in recent months, President Obama today signed an executive order that will formally allow families to pay ransom to recover hostage relatives. Previously, this has been illegal under US law.
And while the administration insisted they’d never actually prosecuted families for paying ransoms in the past, Diane Foley, whose son James Foley was slain by ISIS forces in 2014, reported she was repeatedly threatened by the administration for trying to make payments to secure his release.
The White House has that there are more than 30 Americans held hostage world-wide, and under the current executive order the administration will create an office that will help families to engage in negotiations with the hostage-takers.
House Speaker John Boehner was critical of the announcement, saying it rolled back 200 years of American policy of non-negotiation with terrorists and put Americans in jeopardy. White House officials maintain that aside from the new office and the lack of threats to families their position will remain unchanged.