Did The Obama Administration Violate An Executive Order By Releasing Qais Qazali?

by Bill Roggio
The Weekly Standard
December 31, 2009

Did the Obama administration, by releasing Qais and Laith Qazali and more than 100 members of the Iranian-backed Asaib al Haq, violate an executive order put in place by President Ronald Reagan to prevent negotiations with hostage takers? Senators Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl asked that very question to the Obama administration in a letter sent to the president in July. The full text of the letter is below, or you can read the signed letter here in PDF form.

According to a congressional staffer, the Obama administration has yet to answer the letter.

The body of the letter by Senators Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl to President Obama, dated July 1, 2009:

We are deeply concerned by recent news reports that suggest your administration may be negotiating directly or indirectly with terrorist organizations for the release of dangerous terrorist detainees. It has long been the policy of the United States that our government does not negotiate with or provide concessions to terrorists. We strongly believe this is a wise policy for the long-term security interests of the United States and believe it should not be changed.

On January 20, 1986, President Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive Number 207, which prohibits negotiations with terrorist organizations regarding the release of hostages. The Directive sets forth in unequivocal terms the United States’ “firm opposition to terrorism in all its forms” and makes clear the government’s “conviction that to accede to terrorist demands places more American citizens at risk. This no-concessions policy is the best way of protecting the greatest number of people and ensuring their safety.” The Directive continues to say: “The [United States government] will pay no ransoms, nor permit releases of prisoners or agree to other conditions that could serve to encourage additional terrorism. We will make no changes in our policy because of terrorist threats or acts.” This policy is further articulated in Department of State Publication 10217, which makes clear the United States “will not support the freeing of prisoners from incarceration in response to terrorist demands.”…

The letter and the article continue at The Weekly Standard.

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