Congress

Senators team up on letter seeking action to recover missing journalist Austin Tice

Austin Tice, a freelance journalist for McClatchy and other news outlets, vanished in Syria in 2012. The FBI has offered a new $1 million reward for information on his whereabouts.
Austin Tice, a freelance journalist for McClatchy and other news outlets, vanished in Syria in 2012. The FBI has offered a new $1 million reward for information on his whereabouts. MCT

Eight senators, including both from Texas, are asking the White House to continue efforts to bring home missing journalist Austin Tice, a Houston, Texas, native who disappeared while reporting in Syria more than six years ago.

The Trump administration appointed an envoy for hostage affairs, Robert C. O’Brien, who has been working on the case, and President Donald Trump has spoken directly with Tice’s family about the efforts to bring him back.

A letter signed by Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz on Tuesday — along with two other Republicans and four Democrats — urges the White House to “pursue every possible avenue” to release Tice, who “we believe has been held captive in Syria for six years.”

State Department officials believe Tice, who was freelancing for McClatchy and other media outlets at the time of his disappearance, is alive. Cornyn, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, last year met with the Czech Republic Ambassador to Syria, Eva Filipi, to receive updates on Tice’s status.

This is an interview with the Tice family published Dec. 24, 2016. Austin Tice was captured while reporting on the civil war in Syria on August 12, 2012.



Cornyn and Cruz’s letter urged Trump, O’Brien, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton to “personally ensure” that the U.S. “redoubles its efforts” to finding Tice, who was “working to ensure that the world understood the tragic situation in Syria.”

In April, the FBI announced it would pay a $1 million reward for information leading to Tice’s safe return.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Patrick Leahy D-Vermont, and Chris Van Hollen D-Maryland, also signed the letter.

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Andrea Drusch is the Washington Correspondent for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She can be reached at adrusch@mcclatchydc.com; @andreadrusch
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