White House: US to change hostage release policy, reforms necessary

Published 11.06.2015 23:57

The U.S. will soon release details about changes to how it secures the return of American hostages, a White House spokesman said Thursday.

"But what the president has acknowledged and what his team is diligently working on is a review of the process that the administration carries out, for handling these cases and communicating with the families of those who are being held hostage," said spokesman Josh Earnest, who added that the government has acknowledged that reforms are needed in the process of how to secure the release of Americans hostages.

The issue came to light after a top U.S. commander told a Senate committee on Thursday that Washington's effort to bring back American hostages held oversees was "dysfunctional".

Lt. Col. Jason Amerine said problems between the FBI and the Defense Department led to a failure to gain the release of at least five civilian hostages, including Warren Weinstein who was killed in a drone strike in January during U.S. counterterror operations along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

President Barack Obama had said he took full responsibility for Weinstein's death, and two other hostages killed in the attack. "I profoundly regret what happened," he said.

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