Diane Foley, the mother of James Foley, the journalist publicly beheaded by Islamic State militants in 2014, is calling for lawmakers to reexamine the country’s hostage policy during a House hearing Tuesday.
The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade gathered to discuss potential solutions for terrorism financing, including groups like ISIS and al-Qaida kidnapping hostages for ransom.
Foley says she feels the government should have been directly engaging and negotiating with Islamic State to ensure her son would return home.
“I am very aware of our U.S. public policy of no concessions to terrorists, to include no ransom or release of prisoners,” she said, adding she realizes it’s a complex situation and doesn’t want to fund terrorism. “However, our policy also states that the United States will use every appropriate resource to gain the safe return of American citizens who are held hostage by terrorists.”
Foley says she and her family tried to raise the ransom, despite the legal ramifications, but were too late to reach their demands.
Rep. [crscore]Brad Sherman[/crscore] says while he understands where Foley is coming from, it would just be a matter of time before more Americans were killed if ISIS receives ransoms.
“I feel bad saying it, but I don’t think we should be allowing paying ransom to terrorist organizations,” he said.
The California Democrat cited the situation as a reason the U.S. should not support the Iran nuclear deal.
“We need to sanction Iran for holding five American hostages, the president made it clear the deal in Geneva related only to nuclear weapons,” he said. “And if any other country was five of our hostages we would certainly sanction them.”
After her son’s death, Foley established the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation. Foley says she is trying to raise funds to support American families who are dealing with similar hostage situations, but would like to go further by raising money to get victims home.
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