According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ransom means: a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity.
The Obama administration said Thursday that a $400 million cash payment to Iran seven months ago was contingent on the release of a group of American prisoners. That wasn’t the same sentiment expressed today.
It’s all about appearances. The picture this paints is that the United States will pay or entertain the idea of swapping money for hostages. This puts many Americans at risk when traveling of being kidnapped.
U.S. Government Responsibilities When Private U.S. Citizens are Taken Hostage:
Based upon past experience, the U.S. Government concluded that paying ransom or making other concessions to terrorists in exchange for the release of hostages increases the danger that others will be taken hostage. The U.S. Government policy is, therefore, to reject any demands for ransom, prisoner exchanges, and deals with terrorists in exchange for hostage release. At the same time, the U.S. Government will make every effort, including contact with representatives of the captors, to obtain the release of the hostages without paying ransom, exchanging prisoners, etc.