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Wife criticizes U.S. approach to hostages' families

Last Updated Apr 23, 2015 1:23 PM EDT

The wife of an American hostage killed in a U.S. drone strike called the government's assistance to their family "inconsistent and disappointing" during his more than three years in captivity.

Warren Weinstein
U.S. development expert Warren Weinstein is seen in an undated photo.

Elaine Weinstein made the comments after President Obama announced the deaths of her husband, Dr. Warren Weinstein, and an Italian national in a nationally televised statement from the White House Thursday morning.

"We are devastated by this news and the knowledge that my husband will never safely return home," Elaine Weinstein said in a statement on behalf of the family.

U.S. officials told CBS News that CIA drone strikes conducted during conterterrorism operations in the Afghan-Pakistan border region in January killed the two hostages.

While Weinstein thanked the FBI and Maryland's Sen. Ben Cardin, Rep. John Delaney and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, she criticized the government's approach when Americans are taken hostage.

"The assistance we received from other elements of the U.S. government was inconsistent and disappointing over the course of three and a half years," Weinstein said. "We hope that my husband's death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the U.S. government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families."

Elaine Weinstein, left, wife of American aid worker Warren Weinstein, is joined by their daughter, Jennifer Coakley, during an interview with The Associated Press at the family home in Rockville, Md., Aug. 8, 2014.
Elaine Weinstein, left, is joined by daughter Jennifer Coakley during an interview with The Associated Press in Rockville, Md., Aug. 8, 2014.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

But Weinstein didn't hold the government responsible for her husband's death.

"Those who took Warren captive over three years ago bear ultimate responsibility," she said. "The cowardly actions of those who took Warren captive and ultimately to the place and time of his death are not in keeping with Islam, and they will have to face their god to answer for their actions."

Mr. Obama ordered a full review of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Weinstein and Lo Porto. Elaine Weinstein said her family looks forward to the findings of that investigation.