Republican congressman Duncan Hunter blasted the Obama administration’s handling of the Al Qaeda hostage accidentally killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan and revealed details about a little-known Pentagon unit working on how to free U.S. hostages held by terrorists, the Daily Beast reports.
“Warren Weinstein did not have to die,” he said in a statement. “His death is further evidence of the failures in communication and coordination between government agencies tasked with recovering Americans in captivity-and the fact that he’s dead, as a result, is absolutely tragic.”
Hunter’s also revealed for the first time the name of a man inside the Pentagon who was working on a plan to get all the hostages out.
“This incident also calls to attention the fact that the only government organization seriously developing options to recover Weinstein and others in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region was within the Pentagon-led by war hero Jason Amerine,” Hunter said.
“In the lead up to the [U.S. captive Sgt. Bowe] Bergdahl trade, Amerine and his team were developing plans to recover all Western hostages in the area-not just Bergdahl alone. Their planning did not include a 5-for-1 trade, as occurred, but rather a 1-for-7 exchange that included Weinstein.”
Hunter said interagency fighting between the FBI (tasked with recovery) and CIA (tasked with killing Al Qaeda) doomed Amerine’s efforts.
“Due to infighting and disagreements among lead organizations, Amerine and his team struggled to get attention beyond the walls of the Pentagon and were ultimately sidelined. And when the State Department-led 5-for-1 trade was initiated, the deck was reshuffled for all the other Americans in captivity in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. This is just one more failure in a string of failures related to the administration’s decisions and efforts related to Bergdahl’s release.”