After American journalist James Foley was murdered by Islamic State terrorists several days ago, there was concern about another U.S. reporter taken hostage about two years ago. His name is Peter Theo Curtis.
But on Sunday, Curtis was released by his captors, who turned out not to be Islamic State terrorists. Instead, they are a Syrian rebel group linked to al-Qaida.
Curtis' release was wonderful news - and it carried an important message to Americans.
The message is this: Some Islamic militants in the Middle East are still afraid of the United States. Those who released Curtis clearly were motivated by fear U.S. intelligence agencies would identify them as the journalists' captors, then U.S. military action would follow.
During the past several years, some Islamic militants have demonstrated a distinct lack of concern about angering U.S. officials by attacking Americans. Islamic State terrorist leaders fall into that category.
Unless President Barack Obama's administration takes swift, decisive action against the Islamic State group, its leaders and officials will have no reason to fear us. Neither will other militant Islamists.
If that happens, Americans and our interests will be attacked again, with increasing severity. Obama should give the terrorists reason to fear us.
Here's news for you: The FBI and Department of Homeland Security say there are no "specific or credible" threats to Americans from Islamic State terrorists. It's official; the two agencies sent an intelligence bulletin on the subject out last week.
What was that about failing to "connect the dots"?
Islamic State leaders, invigorated by military victories and mass slaughter in Syria and Iraq, have made no secret of their goal to attack Americans here in the United States. Given the fact that in their ranks are 100 or more American citizens, such an assault is more than possible - it is to be expected.
Yet federal intelligence agencies tell us, in effect, not to worry.
A more reassuring bulletin would be one outlining what the federal government is doing to prevent Islamic State terrorists from gaining even more power, more resources and more weaponry - leading to attacks outside the Middle East.
Complacency such as that being demonstrated now has consequences. Americans who remember Sept. 11, 2001 understand that.