Biden Signs Executive Order on Wrongful Detentions Abroad

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    The Facts

    • Biden on Tues. signed an executive order (EO) authorizing sanctions on nations that wrongfully detain Americans, as well as providing greater transparency to families of detainees.

    • The State Dept. will add a "D" indicator to its travel risk advisory to warn of wrongful detentions, joining the "K" indicator that warns of kidnapping and hostage-taking by non-state actors.


    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    This EO shows the hypocrisy of Biden and the State Dept. when it comes to which countries they'll punish. Clear proof of this is that Saudi Arabia – a country the US relies on for oil that also has Americans detained – has been left off the list of countries receiving the new "D" risk label. If Biden wanted to punish all dictatorships, he would have included the Saudi Kingdom.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Although it's only an incremental step, this EO is a necessary way for the US to push back against those countries behind the growing problem of US nationals being detained abroad. It rightfully sets up systems to punish nations and individuals complicit in detentions, and it formalizes coordination between agencies that work to communicate with families and bring detainees safely home.


    Public figures in this story


    Establishment split

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