US Hostage Families to Be Briefed on Potential Policy Changes

After deaths of American hostages, Obama ordered review of U.S. policy.

— -- Some families of American hostages, their representatives and former hostages will travel to Washington next week to be briefed by U.S. officials on a likely overhaul to the way the U.S. government approaches hostage situations, U.S. officials told ABC News this week.

Obama administration officials have informed some of those invited that they'll receive on Wednesday a "full overview of the results" of a hostage policy review conducted by a team of experts for the National Counterterrorism Center. Officials also offered their willingness to "get any additional feedback or comments" at the meetings from participants in the review, according to some of those invited.

Like next week’s briefing, families of 9/11 victims were similarly briefed privately in 2004 ahead of the public release of the 9/11 Commission's final investigative report, in which many of the relatives were deeply involved.

The final recommendations are expected soon, but officials have not announced a firm date yet.

Officials have told ABC News that one change to be recommended is that the U.S. government will not enforce laws that consider ransom payments for hostages technically "material support to terrorism," and will ensure no such threats of prosecution will ever occur again. The government will, in effect simply look the other way or facilitate ransom payments in the form of legally-permissible sting operations in some cases.

To get out ahead of the forthcoming NCTC recommendations, the White House recently said that Obama is already moving to create a "fusion cell" to coordinate response to future hostage cases throughout the government, which has been essentially been ad hoc until now. A U.S. official directly involved in hostage recovery said the new office likely will include a leader, or hostage "czar," which some in Congress have long called for.