It has been a longstanding policy to never negotiate with what the United States considers terrorists or terrorist-sponsoring states. However, it appears that stance has softened in recent years and could be completely reversed given the news surrounding negotiations to release American al-Qaeda hostage Warren Weinstein.
Report from WMAL:
The U.S. government is working “behind the scenes” to secure the release of American al-Qaeda hostage Warren Weinstein, the State Department claims in response to comments made by Weinstein’s family in an exclusive interview Monday on Good Morning America.
Elaine Weinstein, the 72-year-old’s wife, had told GMA that al-Qaeda’s demands for her husband’s release were beyond her control but said that the U.S. government won’t tell her much about what — if anything — they’re doing to help.
“We have called immediately on the terrorists holding him to release him,” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters hours after the broadcast. “We also continue to actively work with the Pakistani authorities to try and secure his release…We’re going to keep working with the Pakistanis, working behind the scenes and then the FBI, of course, is involved as well… to try to secure his release. And we’re certainly committed to doing that, as we all are with all American citizens who are being held overseas.”
Weinstein was working as a consultant in Lahore, Pakistan, helping with community projects, when gunmen stormed into his apartment and took him captive more than two years ago. In December 2011, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced Osama bin Laden, announced his terror organization was holding Weinstein.
If the US is working “behind the scenes,” what could we be offering in exchange for Weinstein’s release? Does this set a dangerous precedent and make Americans less safe around the world if we begin negotiating ransoms?