Former prisoner’s wife: US government ‘did nothing’ to retrieve my husband

Former prisoner’s wife: US government ‘did nothing’ to retrieve my husband

The widow of American prisoner Warren Weinstein, an al Qaeda captive inadvertently killed in a drone strike along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2015, said the U.S. government “did nothing” to try to retrieve her husband.

After fruitlessly paying al Qaeda $243,000 for her husband’s release over four years, Elaine Weinstein, 68, said she pleaded with Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryTrump's dangerous Guantánamo fixation will fuel fire for terrorists Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Overnight Tech: Senate Dems want FCC chief recused from Sinclair merger | Tech rallies on Capitol Hill for DACA | Facebook beefs up lobbying ranks MORE to act on her behalf.

“Do something. You’re the strongest country in the entire world. Do something,” she said, recalling her words for an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday. “And they did nothing.”

It is U.S. policy not to pay terrorist organizations ransoms for prisoners.

The FBI assisted Weinstein in her negotiations, overlooking instances in which she broke the law by paying the terrorist group. 

She said she also hired a private firm specializing in hostage removal but had the last word in all of her decisions.

“Can you imagine?” she said. “My word is the last word? I have to decide? … I never held life and death in my hands.”

Weinstein said she believed her husband to be dead for seven months before receiving a call one morning from his captors.

She received hundreds of chat messages and phone calls from the group over the four-year ordeal, sometimes in the middle of the night. One night, she recalled, she received 18 phone calls from the terrorists between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.

“On my mind all the time was,’You keep it together. Your husband’s life is in your hands,’” she said.

Al Qaeda eventually passed Warren Weinstein on to another terrorist group in North Waziristan, which attempted to swap him for prisoners held in Pakistani jails.

He was killed in a drone strike on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2015.