FBI surveys reporters on hostage situation policies

WASHINGTON: The FBI is evaluating how it can better talk to the press about hostage situations.

WASHINGTON: The FBI is evaluating how it can better talk to the press about hostage situations.

The review comes after a standoff in Alabama earlier this month in which a man in Midland City kidnapped a 5-year-old boy and held him in an underground bunker for seven days.

The federal agency has sent out a survey to more than two dozen journalists. It will use the results to alter its communications policies if necessary based on the feedback, said Jason Pack, a supervisory special agent at the FBI national press office.

“We thought this would be a good way to get information from the press,” he said. “We want to make sure we're providing information we can, [and consider] how we can work together better in the future.”

The FBI is also working to better communicate why it cannot disclose certain types of information during and after these situations, for instance how exactly its agents got into the bunker to rescue the boy held hostage in Alabama.

“We may need to use these tactics again the next time there is a crisis,” Pack said.

The FBI also sent out a survey last May following a manhunt for fugitive Adam Mayes in Tennessee and Mississippi.

However, the FBI does not expect to conduct a similar review of communications policy for mass shootings, which have also been frequent in recent months, because the agency has not had a major on-the-ground presence in those situations, Pack said.

About a year ago, the FBI began an initiative to both educate about and deter insider trading that featured Michael Douglas, who starred as corporate raider Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.