Top administration official: Naming hostage wasn’t ‘constructive’

A top administration official said on Monday that it wasn’t “constructive” for White House chief of staff Denis McDonough to use the first name of an American being held by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during a TV interview.

{mosads}”I think it’s fair to say that we do not believe that it helps for the names of individual hostages to be in public,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said while briefing reporters traveling with the president in India. “I don’t want to speak for Denis, but, I mean, I think we’re being very forthright in saying that we don’t think that’s constructive to securing their release.”

Rhodes said that “sometimes people have a personal interest in those issues and that, I think, informs how their thinking about them at any given time.”

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, McDonough gave the first name of an American woman being held by ISIS while saying that her ” “family knows how strongly the president feels about this and we will continue to work this.” Her name had not been previously released.

“And as it relates to our hostages, we are obviously continuing to work those matters very, very aggressively,” McDonough said. “We are sparing no expense and sparing no effort, both in trying to make sure that we know where they are and make sure that we’re prepared to do anything we must to try to get them home.”

The woman has been held by ISIS since August 2013, when she was taken hostage while on a humanitarian mission. Her family had requested that her name not be made public because they believed that might endanger her safety.

ISIS had previously demanded a ransom for her release.

This weekend, the terrorist group also released a video showing that they had executed a Japanese hostage.

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