The FBI helped arrange a ransom payment from the family of Warren Weinstein, the Jewish-American government contractor who had been held hostage by al-Qaida from 2011.
News of the unsuccessful ransom attempt for Weinstein, who was accidentally killed in January by a U.S. drone strike, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The family paid a “small amount” in 2012 to people who claimed to be guarding Weinstein, Reuters reported. They first had received proof that he was in their custody.
The FBI reportedly was aware of the payment. U.S. officials had said they would not negotiate with al-Qaida for his release as a matter of policy when it comes to hostages.
In the drone strike, U.S. forces had targeted an al-Qaida-linked compound in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area, the White House announced last week. Until the announcement, information about the raid had been classified.
Weinstein, 73, of Rockville, Md., was kidnapped in August 2011 in Lahore, Pakistan, while working for J.E. Austin Associates, a private company that advises Pakistani businesses. During his captivity, Weinstein appeared in several videos appealing directly to U.S. and even Israeli officials to effect his release.