WASHINGTON (CNN) – Federal law enforcement authorities are discussing what to do with the lone surviving pirate captured Sunday off the Somalia coast as a successful military rescue operation abruptly ended a five-day hostage standoff at sea.
U.S. government officials are weighing potential legal hurdles they may face if the young Somali captive is flown to New York or Washington to face federal criminal charges, according to sources familiar with the case.
Officially, the government is virtually mum on the discussions.
"The Justice Department continues to review the evidence and other issues to determine whether to seek prosecution of this individual in the United States," said Dean Boyd, spokesman for the Justice Department National Security Division.
Sources who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to discuss the matter said the detained Somali youth remains in military custody, but is likely to be turned over eventually to the FBI for transport to the United States.
The United States will have to confront pirates and hold them "accountable for their crimes," he said at the start of a Transportation Department event.
Obama spoke one day after the U.S. military killed three pirates who had been holding the captain of the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama hostage on a lifeboat.
Snipers shot the pirates and rescued Capt. Richard Phillips.
Phillips' "safety has been our principal concern," Obama said. The president added that he is proud of the military's actions leading to Phillips' rescue.
Listen: Was this weekend's victory on the high seas also a political win for the president? CNN Radio reports.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama issued a statement Sunday about the release of Captain Richard Phillips.
"I am very pleased that Captain Phillips has been rescued," Obama said. "His safety has been our principal concern."
The president also said his administration wil continue to fight back against piracy. "We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy," the statement also said.
(Read Obama's full statement after the jump)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the FBI and U.S. Navy continue to negotiate with Somali pirates for the release of the kidnapped American captain, a senior administration official says President Obama is "receiving continuous updates" on the situation. The official added that these briefings are being conducted by the president's national security team.
When asked if the president had spoken to the family members of the kidnapped captain, the official replied, "no, he hasn't."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late Wednesday called for international cooperation to combat piracy like this week's attack on a U.S. ship and crew off the coast of Somalia.
"We are deeply concerned and we are following it very closely. Specifically we are now focused on this particular act of piracy and the seizure of the ship that carries 21 American citizens," Clinton said at the State Department. "More generally we think the world must come together and end the scourge of piracy."
The secretary of state, speaking at a photo op with the Foreign Minister of Morocco, referred back to problems with piracy that both countries had faced together back in the late 1700s. "I think Morocco was the very first country that recognized us, going back a long time. We worked to end piracy off the coast of Morocco all those years ago. And we are going to work together to end that kind of criminal activity anywhere on the high seas," Clinton said.