Accessibility links

Breaking News

Report: US Considering Major Change in Ransom Policy for Hostages

FILE - Laura Spaeth visits a memorial honoring slain U.S. hostage Kayla Mueller at the courthouse plaza in Prescott, Arizona, Feb. 10, 2015.

An American television network reports the Obama administration is considering a major change in policy regarding ransom for U.S. hostages.

ABC news on Sunday said families who try to negotiate a ransom for relatives held captive overseas will no longer be prosecuted on charges of dealing with terrorists.

The reported change is the recommendation of a White House appointed advisory group, the National Counterterrorism Center, according to ABC.

A U.S. official told the network, "There will be absolutely zero chance of any family member of an American held hostage overseas ever facing jail themselves or even the threat of prosecution for trying to free their loved ones."

Diane Foley, the mother of journalist James Foley beheaded by Islamic State last year, told ABC that U.S. officials threatened the family with criminal charges if they tried to raise money to free her son.

The White House denied the allegations and Secretary of State John Kerry said he was "really taken aback" by the accusation.

The Obama administration has not yet commented on the new ABC report.