FBI facilitated ransom payment from hostage Weinstein's family: WSJ

Shift In U.S. Hostage Policy
(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2012 helped facilitate a ransom payment from the family of American hostage Warren Weinstein to al Qaeda in an unsuccessful attempt to get him released, the Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday.

Weinstein was accidentally killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in January, the White House announced last week. U.S. policy prohibits paying ransoms for hostages.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, asked about the report on Wednesday, said he had not yet seen it and could not comment. "Our policy on this hasn't changed," he told reporters.

There was no immediate comment on the report from the FBI.

A person who worked closely with the Weinstein family told Reuters last week that the family paid a "small amount" in 2012 to people who claimed to be guarding the American aid worker, after receiving proof he was their captive.

The source said the FBI was aware of the payment.

Warren Weinstein Kidnapping
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FBI facilitated ransom payment from hostage Weinstein's family: WSJ
ROCKVILLE, MD - APRIL 22 -- Ribbons and flowers surround a tree outside the Weinstein home in Rockville, Maryland, on Thursday, April 22, 2015. President Barack Obama expressed his condolences to the family during a press conference. Warren Weinstein was held captive after his abduction in Pakistan three and a half years ago. He was killed in a counterterrorism operation. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks during a previously unannounced appearance in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The White House admitted Thursday that a January US operation against an Al Qaeda compound near the Afghan-Pakistan border killed one American and one Italian hostage, along with an American member of the jihadist group. The White House identified the hostages killed in the operation against the border compound as US contractor Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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