CNNMoney — National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden tells CNN that U.S. policy on ransom for hostage takers is clear. She said Thursday that it "does not grant concessions to hostage takers."
"Doing so would only put more Americans at risk of being taken captive," she said.
Hayden made the comments following the beheading of American journalist James Foley, and after questions were raised about a possible ransom demand from the Islamic militant group that held him.
Hayden says last year the Obama administration, in conjunction with Britain, built a consensus for a strong policy statement from a Group of Eight summit against paying ransom.
The statement said: "We unequivocally reject the payment of ransom to terrorists."
The G8 statement, Hayden noted, also endorsed the Global Counterterrorism Forum's "Algiers Memorandum on Good Practices on Preventing and Denying the Benefits of Kidnapping for Ransom by Terrorists."
Hayden pointed out that the U.S. government offers assistance to states seeking alternatives to paying ransom.
The American assistance includes training for police forces on how to respond to terrorist kidnappings.
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