U.S. withholding info, says mom of kidnapped journalist in Syria

BEIRUT -- For more than two and a half years Debra Tice has been searching for her kidnapped son, Austin Tice. The 33-year-old previously served as a captain in the Marine Corps and studied law before heading to Syria as a freelance journalist.

Debra Tice says she thinks the U.S. government knows who's holding him and that information is being withheld from her.

"I think they think they (U.S.) know but they aren't sharing with us because you know, we're the parents," she said. "I mean we've even been told that they can't share information with us because we are a security risk."

Austin Tice disappeared outside Damascus in 2012 where he was covering rebels fighting against the Syrian Army. This March, the U.S. government said it had begun "periodic direct communication" with the Syrian regime about Tice's case.

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Debra Tice, mother of Austin Tice
CBS News

Debra Tice told us she thinks the U.S. hasn't done an adequate job handling its hostages being held overseas. She pointed to the six American hostages who have been killed in the past nine months, while other Westerners have been freed. One of the cornerstones of U.S. hostage policy has been its refusal to allow the payment of ransoms.

"Just heartbreaking disbelief because especially with them, they were held with others and those others except for the British are free," said Debra Tice. "That's the strongest indication that freedom was an option for them."

Last month, administration officials indicated they would no longer seek to threaten families who pay ransom with prosecution but so far no ransom has been demanded for Austin.

  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News