President Obama is "greatly concerned" for the safety of a Rockville man kidnapped by al Qaeda in Pakistan, but will not negotiate with the terrorist group for his release, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Warren Weinstein, 70, made an impassioned plea to the president in a video released Sunday, saying "my life is in your hands." The develoment consultant, who was abducted nine months ago, said in the video, "If you accept the demands, I live. If you don't accept the demands, then I die."
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri gave a list of demands to the U.S. in December in order to see Weinstein relesaed. The demands included halting all drone airstrikes against al Qaeda and its affiliates in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and releasing all al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners around the world.
Weinstein was working in Pakistan as the country director for J.E. Austin Associates, a consultancy group based in Virginia that aids U.S. government agencies with international development in Pakistan.
"We are not making any comments regarding Warren because we are concerned for his safety," a company official said Monday. Family members in Rockville are also not speaking publicly at this time.
"It's important you accept the demands and act quickly and don't delay," Weinstein said in the video, addressing Obama. "There'll be no benefit in delaying, it will just make things more difficult for me."
Sunday's video was the first tangible confirmation that al Qaeda had kidnapped Weinstein.
"We remain greatly concerned for Mr. Weinstein's safety and his well-being," Carney said Monday. "Our hearts go out to him and his family. We condemn his kidnapping in the strongest terms and call for his immediate release. The U.S. government will continue making every effort to see Mr. Weinstein released safely to his family, but we cannot and will not negotiate with al Qaeda."
Sara A. Carter is The Washington Examiner's national security correspondent. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.