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U.S. House of Representatives

Obama announces changes to U.S. hostage policy

Obama announces changes to U.S. hostage policy

President Barack Obama issued a directive Wednesday to allow U.S. officials to communicate directly with terrorists who hold American hostages, and said the government will not prosecute family members for paying ransom to such groups. The measures are part of a broader set of changes announced by the White House as officials work to improve the government's response when Americans are taken captive abroad. Relatives of hostages have expressed frustration about the way the government has handled the kidnapping of their loved ones — including the case of Warren Weinstein, the veteran aid worker from Rockville who was captured in Pakistan in 2011 and killed in a U.S. drone...