Monday, September 23, 2013

Negotiations Reveal Valuable Intelligence


Negotiations Reveal Valuable Intelligence

The question of ransom payments is inevitably vexatious, involving both anguish for the families of captives and a whole host of complex issues for governments and companies.

Rudolph Atallah
Rudolph Atallah is a senior fellow in the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. He served as director of Africa counterterrorism in the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2002 to 2009.

The question of ransom payments is inevitably vexatious, involving both anguish for the families of captives and a whole host of complex issues for governments and companies.
In general, the U.S. government’s “no concessions” approach is the right policy – one that confronts, not enables, the problem. However, many governments that publicly oppose paying ransom often funnel funds discreetly through intermediaries to keep the news out of the public eye. The Canadian government, for example, has long denied that a payment was made to obtain the release of the diplomat Robert Fowler and his colleague, who were seized in Niger by militants linked to Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate about four years ago. However, after French military intervention in Mali, an Al Qaeda document found by the Associated Press, which I helped to authenticate, suggests that almost $1 million was paid.
Read the full article [HERE]. 

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