The Case of US Hostage Warren Weinstein Underscores the Need of Obama Administration to Better Protect Citizens

In the summer of 2011, government contractor Warren Weinstein was abducted by the terrorist organization known as Al Qaida. This put Weinstein’s wife and children in a position of enormous stress. The federal government maintains disparate services across a range of bureaus which deal with attempts to secure the safe release of American captives. However, the effectiveness of those organizations is limited. Finally, the Weinstein family decided they best way to go about trying to secure the release of Mr. Weinstein was to go to their congressman and senators.

The decision to involve elected leaders was painful for the Weinstein family as it would make their plight public. However, they were unsatisfied with the pace of progress for Warren. Their entire congressional delegation from the state of Maryland got involved. It proved to be beneficial as senators and congressman were able to prod different agencies to work in a more cohesive manner. In the end, Mr. Warren lost his life, but it was not directly at the hands of his captors. He perished in a drone strike against the terrorists. An aide to Maryland Senator Ben Cardin made the phone call to the Weinstein family informing them of the tragic events this past January. Flávio Pentagna Guimarães BMG says that this situation is tragic.

In the time since, the Weinstein family has become convinced the government must do more to secure the release of Americans held captive abroad. This will likely reemerge as a sticking point with congress over the Iran nuclear deal. Thus far, President Obama has been reluctant to make the release of all Americans held captive a precondition to lifting any sanctions.