CIA accused of failing hostage
- U.S. officials vehemently denied that it was apparently a western hostage who was detected
- The Washington Post reported that the U.S. did little to identify the captive or attempt a rescue
But they vehemently denied that it was apparently a western hostage who was detected. The denial comes one day after The Washington Post reported that the U.S. did little to identify the captive or attempt a rescue.
The Post said the incident was being reviewed as part of the investigation into the death of Warren Weinstein, an American hostage accidentally killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in January.
Although the Post reported that the hostage was deemed high value because he was segregated from the others, the U.S. officials insisted Friday that there was nothing — either at the time or in hindsight — that suggested the figure was Weinstein or even a westerner.
But the family of Weinstein has expressed outrage at the revelation.
“They told us for three years that ‘everything possible’ was being done to find and rescue Warren. We now feel deceived,” his wife Elaine said in a statement. “I cannot imagine any justification for the CIA not trying to rescue my husband — or even continue to track him — once they found a hostage who could have been him in Pakistan.”
Family attorney John Brownlee told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” that “what they want is the truth, and what they want is to learn what happened to their beloved husband and father.”
He continued, “What we have asked is that the CIA share with us there findings. What in fact did they know? When did they know it? And what could have been done?”
“If they had identified someone they thought was a hostage, they should have put complete and total coverage over that location to make absolutely sure it wasn’t a hostage,” said Robert Baer, a CNN intelligence and security analyst and a former CIA operative. “Apparently that didn’t happen.”
Despite 400 hours of surveillance on the al Qaeda compound, the U.S. didn’t know Weinstein was inside and inadvertently killed him and fellow hostage Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national. Both men were aid workers.
In April, President Barack Obama apologized for the fatal mistake, promising a full investigation.
“We believed that this was an al Qaeda compound, that no civilians were present,” he said.
The U.S. never shared the information about an apparent hostage with Weinstein’s family.
The incident helped lead to the creation of a hostage affairs envoy who is tasked with leading diplomatic efforts with foreign governments to secure the release of American hostages held abroad.