The White House is in a damage control mode after revelation that Security Agencies had threatened prosecution against the families of kidnapped Americans if they paid any sort of ransom to their captors.
White House Chief of staff McDonough has denied that the administration on any of its agencies had ever threatened the kidnapped Americans family.
McDonough used the opportunity to up the ante and urge the congress to fund anti-IS forces in Syria. Mr. McDonough was on a publicity blitz and hit a series of Sunday interview shows to promote the administration’s counter-terrorism plan against the Islamic State.
The families of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, the American journalist beheaded by ISIS, said that the government objected to the idea of ransom payment and also threatened legal action if they were to attempt it.
McDonough said on Fox News Sunday,”We didn’t threaten anybody, but we made clear what the law is. That’s our responsibility, to make sure we explain the law and uphold the law.”
Under present US Law payment of ransom money is prohibited on the logic that it will embolden the different terrorist groups and make American citizens around the world unsafe.
Mr. McDonough said that the administration’s sympathy was with the slain journalist’s family and also disclosed that the administration had attempted a rescue attempt. He also urged the Congress to fund the anti-IS fighters in Syria and said that the US is not at war with the Islamic militant group.
Obama had outlined an array of measures which also included U.S. airstrikes in Syria, while expanding ongoing strikes in neighboring Iraq. The plan also featured assistance to local forces in Iraq and Syria to carry out the battle against ISIS.
McDonough also confirmed that Obama has pledged to refrain from having American boots in the conflict zone and will rely on the local Syrian and Iraqi resistance fighters to do the job.
McDonough said on CNN’s State of the Union, “That’s why the Syrian opposition is so important. It’s going to be Iraqi and other boots on the ground that is bringing this fight to ISIL.”