The new hostage policy announced Wednesday is a landmark shift in how the U.S. government will deal with hostage-takers, but one thing that will not change is the long-standing policy against paying ransoms to terror groups.
Six Americans have been killed at the hands of hostage takers over the past 10 months, reports CBS News' Paula Reid. Among those still missing is 33-year-old Austin Tice, who disappeared in Syria in 2012.
"This is an excellent step forward," father Marc Tice said after President Obama's announcement. "That had this new policy been in place when Austin first went missing, much of what we ended up having to do on our own, without guidance, sorting our way through the United States government -- who does what, who should we talk to, who can make things happen, what are the rules, what are the policies -- none of that existed until now. Well, it's soon to come into existence with this new policy."
For the first time, government officials will be able to help families negotiate with kidnappers.
Asked whether the Tices would pay concessions to bring their son home, mother Debra Tice pointed to Mr. Obama's statement.
"If my family were at risk, obviously I would move heaven and earth to get those loved ones back," Mr. Obama said Wednesday. "Many of the families told us that they at times felt like an afterthought or a distraction, that too often the law enforcement or military and intelligence officials they were interacting with were begrudging in giving information. And that ends today."
"If there was ... any opportunity to bring Austin home, we would do everything we could to make it happen," Marc said.
"The ultimate proof of the effectiveness of this policy change is when we have our boy in our arms again... I want him to know we will not give up and we will see him safely home," Debra said.
In order to assess the new policy, the president has ordered an official review of the reforms after six months.