Does the US pay ransom for kidnapped Americans?

(NewsNation Now) — Officially, when it comes to Americans kidnapped overseas and held for ransom, the U.S. government has a “no ransom” policy. However, as Aaron Nolan showed in a Friday morning Smart Board segment, there are “asterisks” at play in that policy.

Hundreds of Americans are kidnapped worldwide every year, and most return home thanks to ransom payments. It’s actually not often that the government gets involved thanks to the aforementioned official policy.

However, if the hostage taker is a state, such as when Iran takes political prisoners, the U.S. will on occasion find a way to make concessions of some kind.

Also, if the kidnapped person is a soldier, as the U.S. did with captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in 2014, negotiations can be accompanied by compensation of some kind.

Finally, the U.S. will serve as the intermediary if someone else is writing the check for the ransom. The country even has a dedicated task force that helps families and organizations facilitate ransom payments when gangs kidnap foreign nationals abroad as happened in Haiti.

What the U.S. policy really boils down to is that we won’t negotiate with terrorists to bring civilians home.

Most organizations like Christian Aid Ministries, the group to which the freed missionaries belong, actually have kidnap and ransom insurance. This coverage provides negotiators to help get the kidnapped people free.

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