President Barack Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of U.S. policy governing efforts to free Americans being held by militant groups overseas, the White House said on Monday.
In recent months, Islamic State militants have beheaded three Americans, including Peter Kassig, an aid worker and former U.S. Army Ranger, whose death was announced in a video released by the group on Sunday.
“The administration’s goal has always been to use every appropriate resource within the bounds of the law to assist families to bring their loved ones home,” White House National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said in a statement.
“In light of the increasing number of U.S. citizens taken hostage by terrorist groups overseas and the extraordinary nature of recent hostage cases,” added Baskey, “this summer President Obama directed relevant departments and agencies, including the Departments of Defense and State, the FBI, and the Intelligence Community, to conduct a comprehensive review of how the U.S. government addresses these matters.”
This feels like a small band-aid on a gaping exit wound but, hey, at least they are now giving the appearance of being on top of things (someone must have gotten a current newspaper to the president).
Most, if not all, of the vague steps outlined in this article (“examining family engagement, intelligence collection, and diplomatic engagement policies”) seem like common sense things that the U.S. government should have been doing already so it’s difficult to see how anything markedly different will come out of this navel gaz…er…policy review.
That is unless they haven’t been doing any of the obvious things thus far.