Last week, members of slain journalist James Foley’s family went to the media to complain about the shabby way they were treated while he was being held by ISIS. Foley’s younger brother Michael told Megyn Kelly that they were “appalled by the situation.”
It went past not doing everything they could – they were actually an impedance. They got in our way. And that’s what really bothers me to the core. “Foley claimed he was “specifically threatened” by the State Department about raising funds to meet the ransom demands for his brother. He added, “we were smart enough to look past it but we lost a lot of time trying to regroup…”
In an appearance on CNN, their mother Diane Foley, expressed her “deep disappointment” towards the Obama administration, saying, ‘I really feel our country let Jim down.’
Articulate and thoughtful throughout her interview, Mrs. Foley made the startling claim that US officials threatened her family with prosecution if they tried to raise a ransom for Foley, 40, and said ‘Jim was sacrificed because of a lack of communication and prioritization.’
Specifically, she alleged that an unnamed military member of the White House’s NSC staff threatened the family with prosecution, and told them not to speak to the media.
Still grieving, Diane Foley also said US officials told her they would not exchange prisoners or carry out any military action to try and rescue her son.
At times withering in her assessment of the Obama administration’s co-ordination with her family, Mrs. Foley poured scorn on the Pentagon’s claim they tried to rescue Foley on July 4, only to raid the wrong base.
Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Mrs. Foley said her family knew where James Foley was being held on two separate occasions in Syria, and that each time he was there for months following his capture on Thanksgiving, 2012.
The parents of murdered journalist Steven Sotloff claim they were similarly threatened by Obama officials.
They “were told by a White House counterterrorism official at a meeting last May that they could face criminal prosecution if they paid ransom to try to free their son, a spokesman for the family told Yahoo News Friday night.”
“The family felt completely and utterly helpless when they heard this,” said Barak Barfi, a friend of Sotloff who is serving as a spokesman for his family. “The Sotloffs felt there was nothing they could do to get Steve out.”
Bryan Cunningham, a former National Security Council official said, “threatening someone with a criminal prosecution when they are trying to save their child, is not only in my opinion, reprehensible – it’s counter-productive.”
Now the Obama administration is in full spin mode to mitigate the very bad publicity they’re getting for using their usual ham-fisted Chicago-style methods on the bereaved parents of sons being held by sadistic ISIS mutants.
The State Department flatly denied accusations that the families were threatened with prosecution if they paid the ransom ISIS requested to secure their loved ones’ freedom.
DW.de reports that Secretary of State John Kerry was “really taken aback” by Diane’s statements. Kerry said he was “totally unaware and would not condone” threatening statements towards the Foley family from anyone in the State Department.
Kerry’s spokeswoman Marie Harf said the State Department tried “to help the family understand what our laws are about” as regards “paying ransom to terrorists.” She added: “This department would never, and did not ever intend to, nor do we think we ever did anything that we would consider threatening.”
On September 12, White House spokesman Josh Earnest responded by saying the administration had stayed “in regular touch with the Foley family” throughout the crisis leading up to James’ beheading. According to AFP, Earnest said President Obama had availed himself of “every tool at [his] disposal” to secure Foley’s freedom.
He said questions “about whether the Foleys would have been prosecuted had they attempted to pay a ransom” should be directed to the Justice Department.
The White House is pushing back with the same talking points, via the Inquisitor – “We just made them aware of the law…”
The White House is pushing back against allegations that a member of the National Security Council (NSC) threatened the families of journalists imprisoned by ISIS with prosecution if they paid a ransom for their loved ones.According to the Detroit Free Press, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough denied the claims, saying that government officials didn’t threaten the families of captured journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Instead, McDonough asserts that the journalists’ relatives were made aware of the law regarding support for militant groups