The Obama Administration is looking to lessen the restrictions on American families who want to communicate directly with terrorists holding their relatives.
Defying the longstanding mantra that we “don’t negotiate with terrorists,” the White House is maintaining an official distance from any actual transactions involving Americans and certain disreputable stateless organizations, but will decline to prosecute those families who wish to engage in negotiations on their own, or who send American money overseas to terrorist organizations and drug cartels to ensure the safety of their loved ones.
The Obama administration was accused Wednesday of giving terrorists an incentive to kidnap as it unveiled a hostage policy overhaul allowing families of U.S. hostages to pay ransom — and allowing the U.S. government to help families communicate with captors.
“This doesn’t fix anything,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a leading critic of the administration’s hostage policy, told Fox News. “The money that we’re going to be paying ISIS is going to be used to buy arms and to buy equipment to fight Americans and to fight the Iraqis.”
But the White House said the changes are being unveiled with the families and victims in mind.
“We’re not going to abandon you. We’re going to stand by you,” Obama said of hostages’ families, speaking at the White House on Wednesday.
The policy review was formally released shortly before noon, and includes a host of changes beyond the clarifications on ransom discussions — notably, the creation of a new bureaucratic structure for handling hostage cases.
The question is, of course, how far the Federal government is willing to go to put families in contact with the terrorists in the Middle East or cartels in Central and South America and how willing the Obama Administration is to let Americans directly fund terrorist efforts. With oil revenues declining, ISIS and others consider kidnapping more people and asking for higher ransoms, especially now that the U.S. seems to be open to facilitating those kinds of transactions. After all, they already have — trading GitMo detainees for Bowe Berghdal.
But while there’s now a guarantee that money will change hands, there’s no opposite guarantee that terrorists will free an American being held halfway around the world, far out of reach to enforce the agreement. The change came about because families complained that they ran into red tape when they tried to free their loved ones from ISIS, but the White House seems dodgy on the question of whether allowing Americans to pay the ransoms would have gotten the hostages home safe.
The good news is, the Obama Administration doesn’t know how to tie its shoes without creating a new federal bureau dedicated to shoe-tying oversight, so this new kidnapping communications program already has its own department, soon to be filled by Federal drones who will, undoubtedly, facilitiate the release of captives overseas with the same remarkable efficiency with which they process benefits claims, meaning, of course, that the process of directly paying terrorists will not improve, it will now give them a taste of Western democracy before they’re allowed to cash their checks.
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