Talking to Terrorists
A discussion of the processes and problems of communicating with terrorists during diplomatic kidnapping incidents. Governments must communicate not only with the kidnappers, but also with other governments, news media, constituents, and the families of the hostages. Some governments prohibit direct communication with kidnappers, so intermediaries must be used, or the kidnappers may attempt to deal directly with hostages' families. Families' concern with hostage safety may make them willing to offer concessions, exert pressure on the government, or publicly criticize officials for "abandoning" the victims. Terrorists also have many audiences for their communications--their opponents, perceived constituents, the local population, other potential targets, other terrorists--and a different message is aimed at each. Because most messages are public, their content is often confusing and conflicting. Nine general principles for improving the effectiveness of communications with terrorists are suggested.
- Copyright: RAND Corporation
- Availability: Web-Only
- Pages: 15
- Document Number: P-6750
- Year: 1982
- Series: Papers
This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.