Amid the reports surfaced that the families of the beheaded American journalists were threatened by the US government for paying ransom to their captors, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough refuted the claims, saying no legal action were planned against the families in such a case.
“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,” McDonough said on Fox News on Sunday.
The families of American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, who were kidnapped and later beheaded by the Islamic State, have claimed that the US government had objected when they considered ransom payments and also threatened prosecution against them.
The payments of ransom are prohibited under the US law citing the theory that such actions could encourage the terrorist groups in their ambitions and incidences of kidnapping may rise.
While extending his sympathy to the aggrieved families of Foley and Sotloff, McDonough said that the US administration only attempted a hostage rescue in Syria.
“We took every effort and will continue to take every effort to secure people,” he asserted.
While discussing the American counter-terrorism plan, McDonough asked the Congress to fund anti-IS fighters in Syria, asserting that the Obama administration is “obviously” at war with the militant group.
The anti-terrorism plan announced by US President Barack Obama on Wednesday includes the prospect of American airstrikes in Syria and expanding ongoing strikes in neighboring Iraq.
According to the government officials, the anti-terrorism plan includes all kinds of assistance to local forces in Syria and Iraq to combat against the Islamic State, better known as ISIL or ISIS.
Meanwhile, the analysts and lawmakers have posed several questions against Obama’s counter-terrorism plan, saying if the United States wants to defeat the Islamic state then the country needs to get more involved.