President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a new hostage policy designed in large measure to ensure that families of captives are treated as partners. Several families of hostages have complained recently that they were held at arms-length and treated with suspicion. In a speech at the White House, Obama said that the new policy was designed to make families partners and allow them to communicate with the hostage takers or pay ransom without fear of prosecution. In some cases, the government would facilitate that communication to make sure that they are not defrauded. But Obama stuck with the existing policy that the federal government would never pay ransom. He said agreeing to pay ransom would endanger more Americans.
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