F.B.I. tactics in pirate negotiation questioned

An F.B.I. hostage negotiator aboard the U.S.S. Sterett didn't think the two Somali pirate leaders who boarded the ship to discuss the release of four American hostages vacationing on the yacht were serious. So they told the pirates on the Quest yacht to send someone who they could do business with, reports the New York Times.

What followed was the murder of the four American hostages.

According to the New York Times, it is unclear whether the F.B.I. agent had negotiated with Somali pirate before. However, an official said the agent involved was a hostage negotiator from a special team based at Quantico, Va., who was experienced in both domestic and international hostage crises.

The anonymous official said that the pirates brought on board the U.S.S. Sterett never communicated back to their fellow pirates on the Quest.

Details of pirate hostage negotiations

The negotiator said the pirates could take the yacht or another small Navy boat if they released the hostages.

There is some speculation that without their leaders, the young pirates on the Quest panicked, killing the hostages.

Pirates interviewed by the New York Times said that something must have gone wrong on the Quest, because it is bad business to kill hostages.