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Obama Announces Change in Hostage Policy

by Jeff Thompson
August 2015

Crisis Negotiator Blog by Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the government will no longer threaten to criminally prosecute families of American hostages who pay ransom to get loved ones back from such groups as ISIS —just one of several policy changes following a multi-month examination of how the government operates in situations when Americans abroad are held captive by terrorist organizations.

"The families have told us and told me directly about their frequent frustrations in dealing with their own government," the president said on Wednesday adding "That's totally unacceptable."

…The president also underscored that the administration still believes in a no-concessions policy in dealing with terrorists but makes clear for the first time that "no concessions" does not mean "no communication."

..."The U.S. government may itself communicate with hostage-takers, their intermediaries, interested governments, and local communities to attempt to secure the safe recovery of the hostage," according to a statement from the White House. 

Read more and watch the video at NBCnews.com [HERE]. 

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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