The family of beheaded journalist James Foley was threatened by the Obama administration with terrorism charges if they paid a ransom to ISIS for their kidnapped son.
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The family of murdered American journalist James Foley says it was threatened by a US official with terrorism charges if they paid a ransom to his captors in Syria.
Foley’s mother Diane told ABC News on Friday that a military officer working for Barack Obama’s National Security Council had told them several times that they could face criminal charges if they paid a ransom.
“We took it as a threat and it was appalling,” she said. “Three times he intimidated us with that message. We were horrified he would say that. He just told us we would be prosecuted. We knew we had to save our son, we had to try.”
“We were just told to trust that he would be freed somehow, miraculously,”
Foley’s mother said on CNN. “And he wasn’t, was he?”
The president’s spokesman refused to discuss conversations that the family had with officials, but said they involved people from different government branches.
“I’m not going to get into who said what in the context of these individual conversations,” spokesman Josh Earnest said, but he reaffirmed the US policy not to pay ransoms because it could encourage further abductions.
The National Security Council was quoted as saying that the Foley family was informed of US laws banning terrorism financing but denied the family was told they could face charges if they made a ransom payment.
Meanwhile, it has been widely reported that Obama’s hesitancy to make a decision cost James Foley his life.
President Obama delayed a rescue mission for James Foley and others for 30 days. Obama spent that time “fretting over his image”, playing golf and worrying his administration would be “Carterized” if the mission failed.