Poll: Two-Thirds Of Americans Oppose Paying Ransom For Hostages Held Captive By Terrorists

Benjamin Fearnow
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A photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows U.S. freelance reporter James Foley resting in a room at the airport of Sirte, Libya. (credit: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows U.S. freelance reporter James Foley resting in a room at the airport of Sirte, Libya. (credit: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Nearly two-thirds of Americans agree with U.S. and British government policy of refusing to pay ransom to terrorists in exchange for hostages.

The Reuters-IPSOS Poll released on Tuesday follows the brutal Islamic State video released last week depicting the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley. But 62 percent of the U.S. adults surveyed said that governments should continue to reject ransom negotiations with terrorist groups regardless of similar threats from kidnappings and executions.

Only slightly more than one-in-five (21 percent) Americans said they disagreed with policies that refuse to pay ransom money to terrorist groups.

The poll also reflected Americans’ strong opposition to aggressive U.S. military intervention in the Iraq, with little distinction between thoughts of self-described Democrat and Republican respondents.

Although a majority of Americans felt the U.S. should intervene somehow in Iraq, just 21 percent said Washington should launch air strikes in support of Iraqi government forces and overwhelming numbers opposed any U.S. troops being sent in on the ground to support the Baghdad government.

The poll of 4,685 American adults found that just 12 percent believe the U.S. should fund and support a multi-national intervention in Iraq, only 11 percent said the U.S. should send Special Forces into Baghdad for support and 10 percent said America should provide weapons to Iraqi troops fighting ISIS.

Only 7 percent of Americans say U.S. troops should be sent to Iraq.

Foley was abducted in northern Syria in November 2012, while covering that country’s civil war. According to The Associated Press, a U.S. official said that the ISIS militants who beheaded Foley had demanded $132.5 million in exchange for his release. A second U.S. official told the AP that ransom demands were sent directly to Foley’s New Hampshire family via email.

But the U.S., unlike many European countries that have paid out millions to the terror group to release their citizens, refused to pay.

A CBS News report from investigative producer Pat Milton reveals that a Scandinavian corporation recently paid a $70,000 ransom for a kidnapped employee – and it is this method that ISIS is gathering funds. GlobalPost — the company which James Foley was working for prior to his abduction and videotaped execution — spent “millions” attempting to bring the journalist home.

GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni said last week that an international security firm was hired, and that the “substantial” financial and political demands remained the same after the kidnapping and until his death.

In the same video depicting Foley’s murder, an ISIS fighter also vows to kill Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who went missing in Syria in August 2013, should President Barack Obama refuse to halt airstrikes in Iraq.

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