"On October 3, 2014, the terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, or alternatively, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS) threatened to kill a third U.S. citizen whom it had kidnapped, Abdul-Rahman Kassig (previously Peter Kassig). While releasing some Western hostages for ransom, the Islamic State has beheaded others, including two U.S. citizens, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and two British citizens, David Haines and Alan Henning. The group posted videos of the murders online, generating debate about the U.S. government's role and capabilities for freeing hostages. In light of these beheadings, some policy makers have called for a reevaluation of U.S. policy on international kidnapping responses. Questions include whether it is effective and properly coordinated and implemented, should be abandoned or modified to allow for exceptions and flexibility, or could benefit from enhancements to improve global adherence."
CRS Insight, IN10167