Warren Weinstein (July 3, 1941 – January 14, 2015) was an American contractor, and director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a firm which increases business competitiveness and growth in developing economies. He was kidnapped by eight al-Qaeda members on August 13, 2011 in Lahore, Pakistan. He was killed in a January 2015 US drone strike on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, as announced by U.S. President Barack Obama at a White House press conference on April 23, 2015.
He earned an MA in international relations, and a PhD degree in international law and economics, from Columbia University. In the 1970s, he was a professor in the political science department at the State University of New York at Oswego, leaving in 1979 to work on economic development with USAID. He had a home in Rockville, Maryland.
At the time of his kidnapping, Weinstein was posted in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the northwest of Pakistan as a Country Director of Operations for the Virginia-based development company J.E. Austin Associates. His work reportedly involved supervising a four-year $11 million "competitiveness project", funded by the American government, which was involved in dairy, horticulture, furniture and medical equipment projects. He spoke six foreign languages and had 25 years of experience in international development projects.
Eight armed kidnappers arrived at his house on the morning of August 13, 2011, just when his guards were having food and starting their Ramadan fasting. According to one of them, the kidnappers knocked and when he opened the door, he saw three men standing; they offered meals to him and when he politely refused, five more men stormed the house from the back door and overpowered all the guards, tying their hands behind their backs. They then made Weinstein's driver knock on his bedroom door, and grabbed Weinstein when he opened it.
Kidnapping for ransom is common. Three guards and his driver were being held. On November 1, 2011, arrests were made in the case. On December 1, 2011, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed to be holding him.
Weinstein was accidentally killed by a January 14, 2015 U.S. counterterrorism drone strike, along with an Italian hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto, and an American al Qaeda leader, Ahmed Farouq, the White House announced on April 23, 2015. The White House said it was unaware any of the victims were present at the sites targeted. They were killed by a "signature strike", which are launched based on behavioural evidence around a site suggesting a high-value target is inside, without knowing who is actually inside.
His wife, Elaine, called the government's assistance during Weinstein's years in captivity "inconsistent and disappointing" following the announcement, echoing similar criticism expressed by the parents of other killed prisoners, including James Foley and Kayla Mueller. "We hope that my husband’s death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the U.S. Government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families," she said in a media statement.
- Warren Weinstein, John J. Grotpeter, The pattern of African decolonization: a new interpretation, Program of Eastern African Studies, Syracuse University, 1973, ISBN 978-0-915984-07-7
- Chinese and Soviet aid to Africa, Praeger Publishers, 1975, ISBN 978-0-275-09050-0
- Warren Weinstein, Robert A. Schrire, Political conflict and ethnic strategies: a case study of Burundi, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 1976
- Soviet and Chinese aid to African nations, Praeger, 1980, ISBN 978-0-03-052756-2
- A sea of troubles: decolonization in Burundi, 1958-1962, University Microfilms International, 1985
- Ellen K. Eggers, Warren Weinstein, Historical dictionary of Burundi, Scarecrow Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8108-3261-9
- Jeremy Diamond, with reporting Jim Sciutto, Elise Labott, Pamela Brown, Jamie Crawford, Jim Acosta and Gloria Borger, CNN (23 April 2015). "U.S. drone strike accidentally killed 2 hostages". CNN. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
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- J.E. Austin Associates, Inc. website
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- Dan Murphy (December 2, 2011). "Is kidnapping older, unarmed civilians all that's left for Al Qaeda?". The Christian Science Monitor.
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- Londoño, Ernesto (2013-12-26). "National Security". The Washington Post.
- "Warren Weinstein, Adam Gadahn Killed in U.S. Drone Strikes". NBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- Kim, Susanna (April 23, 2015). "Warren Weinstein: A Look Back at the Life of the American Hostage Killed During Counterterrorism Operation". ABC News. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
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- "Warren Weinstein's Wife Slams Government After Hostage Dies in American Air Strike", Reuters, via Jewish Daily Forward
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- Nick Greene (13 August 2011). "Al Qaeda Stockpiling Toxin; Warren Weinstein Kidnapped in Pakistan; Health Care Bill Hiccup". Runnin' Scared. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
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- "The Cutting Edge". thecuttingedgenews.com. Retrieved 23 April 2015.