White House considering cross-agency team to handle hostage situations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is considering assembling a cross-agency team to handle situations involving American hostages being held abroad, spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday.

The idea is being floated in the midst of a review of the U.S policy toward hostages, which was criticized on Thursday by the family of Warren Weinstein, the American hostage killed in a U.S. strike while being held by al Qaeda on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The group, which Earnest called a “fusion cell,” would combine leaders from the FBI, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

Such a group would focus on communicating with the families of hostages as well as working to bring hostages home.

Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by Doina Chiacu