Senators Cornyn and Cardin Introduce Legislation Establishing an Interagency Hostage Recovery Coordinator

In: All News   Posted 06/22/2015

Newly Established Hostage Recovery Coordinator Will Direct a Unified U.S. Government Response and Work Closely to Inform Family Members of Hostages of Ongoing Developments

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced legislationtoday establishing an Interagency Hostage Recovery Coordinator, a newly established position designated to properly coordinate a unified government response to hostage situations and work to secure the release of all hostages held by terrorist groups. Last month Sen. Cornyn spoke on the Senate floor about Houston native Austin Tice, a Marine veteran and journalist who has been held captive since 2012 – more than 1,000 days.

“Families of Americans held hostage by terrorists, rogue regimes, or other bad actors deserve as much information as possible about the work being done to ensure their loved-ones are returned home safely,” Sen. Cornyn said. “The weeks, months and years of silence about a loved-one’s well-being are unbearable, and we need to do more to help those here in the U.S. waiting for answers and to ensure some unity of effort by the Federal Government.”

“American hostages held and killed by ISIS and other terrorist groups were aid workers, humanitarians, and journalists – they represent the highest of American ideals and values,” said Senator Cardin. “Too frequently, the suffering families of hostages were left in the dark, unsure who in government was working exclusively to ensure the safe return home of their loved ones. Maryland resident Elaine Weinstein and her family experienced incredible heartache while their beloved Warren was abducted and held by terrorists. There are no remedies to the pain the Weinsteins and other affected families have endured, but we must as a nation respond more effectively to these tragedies. That is why this legislation is so vital.”

In addition to directing the federal government’s response, the newly created Interagency Hostage Recovery Coordinator will establish a fusion cell comprised of various government agencies to respond to each hostage situation, and work closely with family members of hostages and to inform them of developments.