WASHINGTON (AP) — By rejecting demands for a nine-digit payment to save kidnapped American journalist James Foley, the United States upheld a policy choice that some European and Arab governments have long found too wrenching to make themselves.
The U.S. rules out ransom to rescue any citizen held captive by militant organizations, in hopes the stand will make Americans safer from kidnapping and attacks by extremists.
Foley's beheading by the Islamic State extremist group intensified a debate within the Obama administration and with American allies abroad about whether to pay ransoms to al-Qaida and other organizations, at the risk of encouraging more abductions and funding militancy.
U.S. and British authorities say ransoms paid to free kidnapped Europeans over the past 10 years have surpassed donations from private supporters as a source of funding.
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