Morning Joe Host Questions Whether Obama’s New U.S. Hostage Policy Will Encourage Kidnappers

• June 24, 2015 8:10 am


MSNBC's Morning Joe hosts questioned the soon-to-be announced White House policy of allowing families of American hostages held overseas to pay ransoms, with one worrying this will encourage more kidnappings.

"This obviously, Ayman [Mohyeldin], is really complicated because on the one hand, you want these families to have the ability to do things that the government cannot or will not do, but also, does this in some ways encourage hostage-takers because they know, one way or another, they're probably going to get their money from someone if it's not the U.S. government," said co-host Willie Geist.

Foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin said Europeans, who have long paid ransoms, did not report an uptick in kidnappings due to that policy.

The New York Times reported President Obama would form an interagency hostage recovery "fusion cell" headquartered at the FBI that would coordinate efforts to free American captives. Mohyeldin raised other logistical questions about the new policy.

"It also raises a lot of questions about while, once the actual hostage negotiations begin, to what extent is the American government involved?" he asked. "Could there be a point of contact between the American government and, let's say, terrorist organizations who are demanding this ransom? Would the United States have to negotiate with enemies or perhaps even through intermediaries that the United States does not necessarily look down upon favorably?"

"Maybe this is going to take care of some of the problems moving forward in the future," host Joe Scarborough offered before Mika Brzezinski said, "But how?"