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US Considers Creating Interagency Hostages Return Program - White House

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The United States is working towards creating an interagency "fusion cell" to secure the return of US hostages abroad. The “fusion cell” would be comprised of US federal agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US department of Defense and State as well as other agencies in the intelligence community.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US government is in the process of creating an interagency “fusion cell” that would deal with securing the return of US hostages abroad, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest announced during a press briefing on Friday.

"We are at an interim in this review process and one of the initial proposals is the creation of a what's called a ‘fusion cell,’ this would be a working level, operationally focused group of federal employees that would enable a whole of government response to overseas hostage events.”

Earnest explained that the “fusion cell” would be comprised of US federal agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US department of Defense and State as well as other agencies in the intelligence community.

Earnest also said that the White House is currently working with the families of US hostages to get their input on the proposed program.

A cameraman photographs flowers and ribbon on a tree outside Weinstein family house in Rockville, Md., Thursday, April 23, 2015 - Sputnik International
US Senator Asks Obama for Full Details into 2 Al-Qaeda Hostages' Death
On Thursday, the White House announced that one of its counterterrorism operations in January 2015 against al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan accidentally killed Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto and US citizen Warren Weinstein who had been held hostage by the terrorist group.

The United States’ consideration of the “fusion cell” program also comes as the Islamic State terrorist organization has been capturing many Westerners, including US citizens, to obtain funding through ransom payments.

US officials continue to say that not paying hostage ransom is an important part of the United States’ strategy to defeat the Islamic State as well as other terrorist groups.

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