White House mulls 'fusion cell' group for hostage families
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The White House is considering forming a new organization to facilitate communication with families of U.S. hostages overseas.

The announcement comes one day after President Obama confirmed the death of Warren Weinstein, a U.S. citizen hostage of al-Qaeda, during a January counterterrorism strike in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.


Press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday the new “fusion cell” could include officials from government agencies responsible for rescuing hostages, such as the Department of Defense, Department of State, the FBI and the intelligence community.

The idea is to “ensure those efforts are closely integrated.”

Five months ago, the White House initiated a review of its policies on handling U.S. hostages being held abroad in the wake of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's beheadings of American captives.

Their families said the federal government failed to communicate effectively with them while their relatives were held hostage.

Weinstein’s family made similar complaints on Thursday, saying in a statement that assistance from “elements of the U.S. government” was “inconsistent and disappointing.”

Earnest would not say when the full hostage review would be completed and made public.