Tags: Barack Obama | Homeland | Security | IRS

Ransoms to Terrorists Will Boost Kidnappings

By Thursday, 25 June 2015 08:18 AM Current | Bio | Archive

President Obama has approved a policy that allows Americans whose family members or employees are held by terror groups to directly communicate with terrorists and even to pay them ransom without fear of prosecution by the federal government.

It has long been the policy of the American government that it will never pay ransom for the taking of a hostage though it will negotiate for their release. By allowing Americans to make contact with terrorists or worse pay them off shirks the duty of the federal government and erodes our power and ability to discourage kidnappings.

Our nation is founded and maintained on the rule of law and the principles and predictability that it represents. As Americans, we must rely on a strong federal government to speak and act for us in times of crisis.

By the government now taking a step back in their responsibility to its citizens emboldens terrorists to step up their acts of terror with added incentive and without the fear of not benefitting monetarily or otherwise from their illegal acts.

With Obama’s stroke of his infamous pen, he has declared that it is open season on Americans abroad. Terrorists now have added incentive to take Americans hostage. If I were a corporate executive, individual, academic or press person working overseas I would be in fear of this policy and not comforted by it.

The burden is now on employers to guard their charges overseas knowing the U.S. government is backing away from its responsibility to its citizens in prevention and negotiation in the event of a taking. And, that if a U.S. citizen is taken hostage they will most likely be the targets of a shakedown for ransom and if it is not paid then they will be blamed for a death.

And, what if the private entity be it family member or otherwise does not have the money to pay a ransom or a corporation or other entity refuses to pay a ransom? That will most certainly be a death sentence would it not?

On one hand the White House said that by the government not paying ransoms to terrorists "protects U.S. nationals and strengthens national security by removing a key incentive for hostage-takers to target U.S. nationals and by helping to deny terrorists and other malicious actors the resources they need to conduct attacks against the United States."

While terrorists cannot count on federal ransom they can now count on private ransom. This is unconscionable!

This was the Speaker of the House’s reaction to Obama’s shift in hostage policy: "We have had a policy in the United States for over 200 years of not paying ransom and not negotiating with terrorists," He went on to state, "The concern that I have is that by lifting that long-held principle you could be endangering more Americans here and overseas."

Since last summer, Islamic State terrorists have killed four Americans: journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller. After the release of videos showing the beheadings of some hostages, Mr. Obama approved an airstrike campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and has beefed up a contingent of military advisers in Iraq.

The fact is that the reason why so few Americans have been taken by terrorists is that the detriment outweighs the benefit. We have been fortunate that Americans being targeted for the taking has not been an epidemic. Many other countries that pay ransoms to terrorists as a matter of practice have seen many more of their citizens taken than we have.

The New York Times reported the following on Feb. 10, 2015 in an article by Karen Yourish: "The parents of Kayla Mueller, the last known American hostage held by the Islamic State, confirmed on Feb. 10 that she had died. Ms. Mueller and James Foley, the first American killed by ISIS, were among 23 foreigners held in the same prison. A majority of these hostages were freed in exchange for large sums of cash, but those from the United States and Britain — two countries that abide by a strict no-ransom policy — were either killed or are still being held."

The cost benefit analysis to policy regarding terrorists taking should be to protect the many at the sacrifice of the few. I wonder if Obama will now also amend the IRS Tax Code to allow individuals and corporations to deduct ransoms paid to terrorists as a legitimate business deduction.

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.


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With Obama’s stroke of his infamous pen, he has declared that it is open season on Americans abroad. Terrorists now have added incentive to take Americans hostage.
Barack Obama, Homeland, Security, IRS
Thursday, 25 June 2015 08:18 AM
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