Journalist Austin Tice’s mother met with top Biden official

The mother of Austin Tice, an American journalist who went missing in Syria in 2012, met with national security adviser Jake Sullivan at the White House on Friday after criticizing the Biden administration as an ‘obstruct’ to his release. son.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the meeting between Debra Tice and Sullivan and said the administration was doing everything possible to free Tice. She declined to provide an update on her case.

“I can’t give you an assessment. Obviously we’re going to do everything we can,” Psaki said. “It is our usual practice not to share specific details about potential reunions or specific cases out of respect for the families, and to maintain confidentiality.”

Tice, at a press conference on Thursday, said his son’s case had to “move up the chain” for there to be progress towards his release after nine years.

She noted that President Joe Biden “never publicly uttered Austin’s name.”

“I wonder if he allowed himself to forget about Austin,” she told reporters. “I have no indication to the contrary.”

Trump administration officials have pushed for Tice’s release in 2020, meeting with Syrian officials to discuss potential terms of his release.

The United States does not recognize the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the Biden administration will not say whether it is willing to engage directly with him to secure Tice’s freedom. Psaki said last month that the administration’s view of Assad had not changed in light of the restoration of diplomatic ties by several Middle Eastern countries with Damascus.

While the Assad government has never acknowledged Tice’s capture, the Biden administration is working to release him on the belief that he is alive.

PSAKI declined to describe Biden’s involvement in the Tice case, or any other case involving the detention of U.S. citizens overseas.

“I’m not going to detail the president’s commitment because it’s not beneficial to our goal of bringing people home,” Psaki said.

“What I can tell you is that Austin Tice’s mother, and all of the families of Americans detained overseas, have been in contact with our national security team, have been in contact with Jake Sullivan and other senior officials in various departments – at the State Department and others – on several occasions, and we are absolutely committed to coordinating closely with them, to doing all that we can here in the States Government United to bring their loved ones home,” Psaki said.

Tice, a Texas native and former US Marine Corps officer, was a 31-year-old student at Georgetown Law School in 2012 when he traveled to Syria as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and others. press organs.

He was detained at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus. Five weeks later, a video emerged showing him being held by unidentified gunmen.

No one has claimed his disappearance.

Debra and Marc Tice, Austin’s father, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Michael Wilner is McClatchy’s senior national security and White House correspondent. A member of the White House team since 2019, he led coverage of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Wilner was previously Washington bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College and Columbia University and is originally from New York.

Alex Roarty has written about the Democratic Party since joining McClatchy in 2017. He has been a campaign reporter in Washington since 2010, having covered politics and state government in Pennsylvania during the former Governor Ed Rendell.