Testimony critical of interagency cooperation in U.S. hostage policy
On June 11, Army Special Forces Lt. Col. Jason Amerine spoke before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Amerine, a combat-decorated Green Beret, testified that a “dysfunctional” U.S. bureaucracy and a lack of interagency coordination are the primary cause of failure in returning U.S. hostages to their families.
In 2013, Amerine’s office was tasked with freeing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and other U.S. and Canadian hostages being held in Pakistan. Amerine’s group was arranging a trade with the Taliban when the State Department intervened, killing the deal. While Bergdahl was eventually freed in 2014, two hostages were accidentally killed in a U.S. drone strike, and the others remain in captivity.
Amerine also spoke about falling under criminal investigation by the Army because the FBI was unhappy about his criticism of the Bureau’s and other agencies’ mismanagement of the hostage crisis. Amerine has shared his frustrations with the current U.S. hostage policy with House Armed Services Committee member Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), and helped Hunter craft legislation to reform and streamline how government agencies should work jointly to handle hostage cases.
In his remarks to the Committee, Amerine asked who is fighting for the hostages, saying that “You, the Congress, were my last resort to recover the hostages. But now I am a whistleblower, a term that has become radioactive and derogatory.”
For more information on Amerine’s testimony, please follow the links below.
All US Hostages in Pakistan Could Have Been Saved, Green Beret Says, ABC News
Whistleblower investigated over U.S. hostage policy concerns, CBS News