Austin Tice (May 2012)
Austin Bennett Tice
August 11, 1981
|Disappeared||August 14, 2012 (aged 31)|
|Alma mater||Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service|
|Parent(s)||Marc and Debra Tice|
Austin Bennett Tice (born August 11, 1981) is a freelance journalist and a veteran U.S. Marine Corps officer who was kidnapped while reporting in Syria August 14, 2012. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Early life and education
Tice is from Houston, Texas, the eldest of seven siblings. He is an Eagle Scout and grew up dreaming of becoming an international correspondent for NPR. At the age of 16, Tice attended the University of Houston for one year, then transferred to and graduated from the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in 2002. He completed two years of study at Georgetown University Law Center before going to Syria as a freelance journalist during the summer break before his third and final year of law studies.
Tice was previously a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer. Tice's father said, “He was hearing reports from Syria saying this is happening and that is happening but it can't be confirmed because there really are no reporters on the ground. And he said, ‘You know, this is a story that the world needs to know about.’” He was one of only a few foreign journalists to report from inside Syria during intensification of the civil war. He entered the country in May 2012 and traveled through central Syria, filing battlefield dispatches before arriving in Damascus in late July 2012. Tice's reporting garnered his Twitter account 2,000 followers. He stopped tweeting after August 11, 2012.
Tice was one of the first American correspondents to witness Syrian-rebel confrontations. His coverage was cited (along with efforts of additional reporters) as contributing to McClatchy winning a George Polk Award for war reporting for its coverage of Syria's civil war.
Tice was working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy, The Washington Post, CBS and other media when he was abducted from Darayya, Syria. There was no immediate contact from Tice or his captors, but in September 2012 a 47-second video of Tice blindfolded and bound was released. In October 2012, a U.S. spokesperson said it believed, based on the limited information it had, that Tice was in the custody of the Syrian government. No government or group in Syria has said it is holding Tice.
In February 2015, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) launched its pro bono #freeaustintice campaign. Since September 2012, RSF has been assisting and advising his family. His parents asked RSF to help them raise awareness about their son's situation. RSF partnered with the global advertising agency J. Walter Thompson to prepare a public awareness campaign in order to do everything possible to bring Austin Tice safely home. The campaign has since garnered over 17,000 signatories and a widespread blindfold pledge on social media.
In August 2018, a US State Department official said the US government still believe Tice is being held by the Syrian government or its allies. Concerning an August meeting between US and Syrian security officials in Damascus, two senior US intelligence sources told Reuters the "ongoing dialogue" with the Syrian government included the fate of Tice.
In November 2018, Reuters reported that Robert O’Brien, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, had called on Russia to "exert whatever influence they have in Syria" to secure Tice's release; the report stated that the Syrian government remain unaware of Tice's whereabouts.
In December 2018, Tice's parents announced during a press conference that they had received new information that indicated their son was still alive without elaborating further. Speaking to reporters from Beirut, Tice's parents claimed that the best chance of Tice's release would come from direct talks between the US and Syrian governments.
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- "Most Wanted • Kidnappings & Missing Persons • AUSTIN BENNETT TICE". FBI. Archived from the original on September 16, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- Muñoz, James (September 4, 2014). "Local Pastor prays for safe return of missing journalist Austin Tice". KENS. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- Banco, Erin (August 13, 2014). "Kidnapped American Journalist Austin Tice Is Still Missing In Syria After Two Years". International Business Times. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- Dehghanpisheh, Babak (November 12, 2012). "Family of missing journalist Austin Tice pleads for information". Washington Post. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- Tice, Debra and Marc (August 13, 2014). "Austin Tice, two years later". washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- "Austin Tice disappearance: Parents of U.S. journalist missing in Syria issue plea to captors". cbsnews.com. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Haggerty, Michael (August 14, 2014). "Two Years Later — What Happened to Austin Tice? Missing Journalist's Parents Speak Out". housonmatters.org. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Sonia Smith (October 3, 2012). "Video Emerges of Missing Houston Journalist Austin Tice". Texas Monthly. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
Tice, an Eagle Scout and the eldest of seven children, grew up in Houston and attended the University of Houston for a year before transferring to Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, which he graduated from in 2002. He went on to join the U.S. Marine Corps as an officer, rising to the rank of captain and serving combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and enrolled in Georgetown Law School...
- Allam, Hanna (August 23, 2012). "Whereabouts of journalist Austin Tice, McClatchy contributor, unknown in Syria". mcclatchydc.com. McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- "Tice's parents cling to hope for his return". dailystar.com.lb. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Harkin, James (May 1, 2014). "Evaporated". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- "WASHINGTON: Whereabouts of journalist Austin Tice, McClatchy contributor, unknown in Syria". mcclatchydc.com. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "Former U.S. Marine held captive in Syria". CNN.com. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Ball, James (October 1, 2012). "Video emerges of Austin Tice, U.S. journalist who disappeared in Syria". Washington Post. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
- "Journalist Austin Tice held by Syrian government, says US – video". theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- State Dept. denies journalist Tice has been seen in custody in Syria
- Reporters Without Borders Launches #freeaustintice Campaign, a First In US Media History
- "Parents of Austin Tice, Journalist Seized in Syria, Are Confident He's Alive". New York Times. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- "US believes Austin Tice still alive as FBI offers new $1 million reward". ABC News. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- "6 years after capture, US believes journalist Tice still alive in Syria". Times of Israel. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- "U.S., Syrian security officials met in Damascus: official, report". Reuters. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- "Trump envoy urges Russia help free journalist Austin Tice held in Syria". Reuters. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
- "Austin Tice's parents say new information offers further hope that he is alive". Washington Post. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- Goldman, Adam (June 23, 2017). "C.I.A. Set Up Secret Back Channel With Syria to Try to Free U.S. Hostage". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.