U.S. Believes Missing Journalist Austin Tice Still Alive: State Dept. Official

The State Department’s special envoy for hostage affairs said the U.S. believes captured McClatchy and Washington Post journalist Austin Tice is still alive, Task and Purpose reports. At the National Press Club on Tuesday, special envoy Robert O’Brien reportedly would not say whether the U.S. has received any evidence regarding the condition of Tice, who went missing in Syria six years ago. “Austin is a strong, fit young man,” O’Brien said. “We have every reason to believe that he is alive. Beyond that, I can’t say anything further on that front. We believe that he is being held captive in Syria. I don’t want to get into anything further on that.”

O’Brien also reportedly said White House national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have met with Tice’s parents to keep them updated on the situation. Trump has been “briefed regularly” on Tice’s case, according to O’Brien. Tice went missing near Damascus in August 2012 while reporting in Syria. Six weeks later, Tice was seen in a 46-second cell phone video, in which he was blindfolded and surrounded by men shouting, “Allahu Akbar.” Tice then briefly spoke Arabic and said, “Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus.”