Bergdahl Is Home, But Who Is Still Missing?

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Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been moved to in-patient care in Texas, where he's receiving treatment to help him reintegrate into civilian life. Bergdahl is the soldier who was freed after five years in Taliban captivity.

A man believed to be Bowe Bergdahl, left, is pictured in a frame grab from a video released by the Taliban. The image was released by IntelCenter on Dec. 8, 2010. (IntelCenter via AP)
After being held for five years by the Taliban, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released in May. (IntelCenter via AP)

Before his rescue, he'd fallen out of national headlines. And soon after his release, we learned there was another Taliban kidnapping no one knew about — a Pennsylvania woman named Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband, taken in Afghanistan in 2012.

As it turns out, Bergdahl and Coleman are not alone, with more than a dozen Americans being held around the globe — both imprisoned in foreign jails and held by terrorist groups like al-Qaida or the Taliban.

Mark Lagon, a professor at Georgetown University and senior fellow for human rights at the Council on Foreign Relations, joins Here & Now's Robin Young to bring us up to date on some of the Americans who are being held abroad, and what is being done to bring them home.

U.S. Citizens In Captivity Or Missing Discussed In This Show

  • Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Todd Miller (currently held by North Korea, indicted on charges of "hostile acts" against the state)
  • Bob Levinson (disappeared while on Kish Island, Iran, in 2007)
  • Warren Weinstein (kidnapped by al-Qaida militants in Pakistan in March 2011)
  • Caitlan Coleman (pregnant when she went missing with her husband in Afghanistan in 2012)
  • Kenneth Bae (began serving a sentence of 15 years hard labor in North Korea in April 2013 for committing "hostile acts" against the state)
  • Alan Gross (in Cuban custody since December 2009, when he was jailed while working for a contractor for USAID; detained after allegedly distributing communications technology)
  • Austin Tice (a freelance journalist missing in Syria since August 2012)
  • Andrew Tahmooressi (Marine reservist jailed in Mexico since May 2014 on weapons charges)

Interview Highlights: Mark Lagon

On Guantanamo Bay's role in the U.S. losing credibility when seeking to free citizens

"One [Guantanamo repercussion] is when the United States is trying to get their citizens freed, there are those, whether they be terrorists or governments, who say, 'Well, who are you to ask us to release people when you're holding people incommunicado?'"

On journalists being held in Syria

"There are a number of them. Its become one of the most dangerous places to serve the honorable role of shedding light on what is going on in a humanitarian calamity. It's tremendously dangerous. One of my students at Georgetown University was just one of those journalists and its hair-raising to think about what she and others have undergone. We were talking about the status of contractors not being full-time employees of the U.S. government and whether they are going to be protected the same way that a soldier or a full time USAID worker would be. So too, journalists rely on stringers and freelancers. There are lots of freelancers who are in danger."


  • Mark Lagon, global politics and security chair at the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University. He's also a senior fellow for human rights at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. He tweets @marklagon.

This segment aired on July 1, 2014.


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