POLITICS

Bob Corker Defends U.S. Ban On Paying Ransom To Terrorist Groups

02/22/2015 04:04 pm ET | Updated Feb 23, 2015

The Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came to the defense of President Barack Obama on Sunday and argued that the United States' ban on paying ransom money to terrorist groups actually made sense.

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) said that paying ransoms only encourages terrorist groups to take more hostages.

"Look, Chuck, I can't imagine a greater pain for a parent than knowing that your child is abducted and you're trying to do everything you can to cause them to be free and to be back home and to be with your family," Corker told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press."

"At the same time, what you do when you begin to pay ransom, which is how these groups support themselves, you encourage them to take other American citizens and other people," Corker said. "And, so, you encourage them to continue to do what they're doing even more. So, this has been a longstanding U.S. policy. It's a policy that I support."

Corker's defense came after the father of Kayla Mueller, the 26-year-old aid worker who was taken hostage by ISIS and eventually killed, accused the Obama administration of not doing everything they could to save his daughter.

"We understand the policy about not paying ransom," Carl Mueller told NBC's Savannah Guthrie. "But on the other hand, any parents out there would understand that you would want anything and everything done to bring your child home. And we tried. And we asked. But they put policy in front of American citizens' lives."

In November, the Obama administration announced that it would review its hostage policy after ISIS released two videos showing the beheadings of U.S. citizens James Foley and Peter Kassig. However, administration officials told The New York Times that they were not considering eliminating the ban on paying ransoms.

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