The New Yorker today details the struggle of the families of five U.S. hostages who are working together to find their loved ones and bring them home, having lost faith in the U.S. government to handle it.
While they were reminded that the U.S. government does not negotiate with terrorists for hostage release, they were startled after President Obama announced the Bowe Bergdahl swap in May 2014:
Some of the families felt deceived—they’d just been told that ransoms and prisoner exchanges were out of bounds. They were also alarmed by the public furor that followed the Bergdahl swap. It seemed certain to make the captors more intransigent and the U.S. government even less willing to act on the families’ behalf.
Obama stood behind his decision – even as details of Berghdal’s disappearance indicated that he was a willing deserter.
Obama has faced criticism after failing to rescue American hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig – who were all beheaded by Islamic State terrorists.
Three other Americans, Luke Somers, Kayla Mueller, and Warren Weinstein were killed while in terrorist custody.
Later this afternoon, Obama is expected to meet with some of the families of the slain hostages and announce his new policy that would allow families to privately pay ransoms to terrorists to recover their loved ones.
According to Foreign Policy, only 24 of the 82 families that the administration contacted chose to participate in the hostage review.