BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New revelations in the death of a Maryland man accidentally killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan. For years, Warren Weinstein’s family pleaded for his release from an al-Qaeda hostage compound.
Now, as Gigi Barnett explains, a new report says US surveillance video may have spotted him a few months before his death.
For more than three years, the family of American aid worker Warren Weinstein pleaded for his return from an al-Qaeda prison camp in the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Montgomery County man was kidnapped from his home in 2011.
“It seems that I have been totally abandoned,” he said.
Weinstein and an Italian aid worker were accidentally killed back in January in a US drone strike.
Now, according to a Washington Post report, CIA drones spotted a possible hostage at an al-Qaeda prison camp but the US did little to identify or rescue him.
“If they found that there were mistakes, then we’ll deal with that,” said State Department Spokesman John Kirby.
US officials confirmed that there was a possible hostage at that al-Qaeda compound but they say there was nothing—either at the time or now—that suggests the figure was Weinstein or even a Westerner.
“They should have put complete and total coverage over that location to make absolutely sure it wasn’t a hostage. Apparently that didn’t happen,” said CNN Intelligence and Security Analyst Robert Baer.
President Barack Obama apologized for the accident and promised a full investigation.
“We believed that this was an al-Qaeda compound and that no civilians were present,” he said.
But the US leaders never told the Weinstein family about what they discovered. Now his widow, Elaine Weinstein, is outraged. In a statement, she says, “They told us for three years that everything possible was being done to find and rescue Warren…we now feel deceived.”
According to the Washington Post, the hostage seen in the CIA surveillance video was deemed high value, because he was segregated.
The accidental drone strike helped lead to the creation of a hostage affairs envoy, which led to diplomatic efforts to secure the release of American hostages in other countries.