Report: Officials to recommend families be free to pay ransom to kidnappers

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WASHINGTON (WKRN) – The Obama administration is reportedly considering a new policy that would enable the families of hostages to raise ransom money.

According to ABC News, the families “who communicate with foreign kidnappers or raise money and pay ransoms will no longer have to fear prosecution for aiding terrorist groups, a White House-ordered advisory group on U.S. hostage policy is expected to recommend.”

Even if that rule is changed, the U.S. government would maintain its policy of not paying ransoms, saying they would only encourage terrorist groups to seize more hostages to get more money.

The National Counterterrorism Center, at President Obama’s direction, is reviewing the U.S. hostage policy in light of protests from families, the Associated Press reported over the weekend.

The parents of American journalist James Foley — who was killed while in captivity – told ABC the Obama administration official threatened them with prosecution if they attempted to pay a ransom.

An unnamed official told ABC News about the proposed rule change: “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.”

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