Exclusive: Jill Carroll Middle Man Says Kidnappers Demanded $8 Million

ByABC News via logo
April 12, 2006, 5:59 PM

April 12, 2006 — -- The man behind Jill Carroll's release tells ABC News in an exclusive interview that kidnapping the American journalist was a mistake. Sheikh Sattam al-Gaaod reveals what it took to free her -- and why he supports the resistance.

Al-Gaaod was one of three people specifically thanked by Carroll's family after her release.

"They are defending their country," he said in an interview at his summer house outside Amman, Jordan. "They are an honest resistance. And sometimes they do mistakes."

One mistake, he said, was kidnapping Carroll. Al-Gaaod said he used his influence to help free her, even refusing kidnappers' demands for a huge ransom.

"There was a demand for $8 million," al-Gaaod said.

Instead, at the kidnappers' request, he said he agreed to arrange payment to widows and orphans.

"We did good donations," he said. "I don't want it to go into the wrong hands, the money."

And al-Gaaod claimed he could ensure the money, where he intended it to go, "because I know names."

Al-Gaaod said he believes attacks on U.S. troops are justifiable because the Americans are occupiers, but he calls attacks on civilians criminal.

The editor of the Christian Science Monitor said today he was unaware of any ransom payment paid by anyone.

ABC News correspondent Jim Sciutto reported this story for "Good Morning America."