The State Department's Hostage Working Group is a clearinghouse for information about captives and a contact center for those involved in delicate negotiations. Dan O'Shea, the outgoing coordinator in Iraq, spoke to Newsweek Baghdad reporters Scott Johnson and Rod Nordland about U.S. journalist Jill Carroll, who was held captive for three months before her release last Thursday.
I've been here 21 months, and the expression on her face made it worthwhile. There were multiple military operations designed to put pressure on the people who had her. All of our efforts were not in vain. She [went] through a hellish time. It's a process--her repatriation back into the world from a hostage situation is difficult. Talk that she didn't cooperate with the military, or that she ran down the U.S. effort, is wrong. She cooperated.
That's true, but justifiable because her captors told her she'd be killed if they saw her with the military.
Eight of the 10 most high-profile kidnapping cases I've dealt with have been journalists. It's people who think they're under the radar, who think they're nice and won't get kidnapped. People think if you speak the language you'll be safe. You've got to mitigate the risks. If you don't have the wherewithal to protect yourself, you shouldn't be here. Jill was a bit foolish about her personal security.
Since she's come out, she's been entirely gracious to the entire outreach. You can't fault her for the things she said when she was in captivity. In the end, she came home alive. Right now, that's all that matters.