Shades of Benghazi: Family of ISIS Beheading Victim Rips Obama Admin Over Leaks & Lies
Guest post by Kristinn Taylor
A spokesman for the family of Steven Sotloff, the second American reporter beheaded by ISIS this summer, lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about how they have treated the family of the slain hostage and for leaking details of a failed rescue mission.
The spokesman, Barak Barfi, made his remarks in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN Monday night.
The mistreatment claimed by Barfi echoes similar claims of mistreatment by the Obama administration made by Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith a State Department employee killed in the Islamist terrorist attack on a State Department facility in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. Smith has accused the Obama administration of lying to her about her son’s death and not keeping her informed on the investigation in to the attack.
Excerpts of Barfi’s comments were reported by the Daily Caller:
“They’ve said that the families have been consistently and regularly informed. That is not true,” he claimed. “I speak now only from the Sotloff family. I can’t speak for the other families. They said that these hostages were moved frequently. We know that for most of the beginning of part of this year they were stationary. We know that the intelligence community and the White House are enmeshed in a larger game of bureaucratic infighting and [murdered journalist] Jim [Foley] and Steve are pawns in that game and that’s not fair. If there continues to be leaks, the Sotloff family will have to speak out to set the record straight,” he said.
Barfi decried leaks about how Sotloff was tortured saying it hurt his family. Barfi also criticized leaks of details of the failed raid that were leaked to the Wall Street Journal.
““The relationship between the administration and the Sotloff family was very strained. We do not believe that they gave us the cooperation that they need. And the Sotloffs’, once Steve appeared in that video, the Sotloff family made one simple request of the administration and they were rebuffed on that.”
““I can’t say that because I have to think of protecting the other hostages inside,” Barfi said when asked to explain the request.
In response to a statement by Obama administration expressing condolences read by Cooper, Barfi said:
“When your view into the largest and most powerful government in the world is two FBI agents, that’s simply not enough,” he said. “The administration could have done more, they could have helped us, they could have seen them through. These are people of modest means. They’re not cosmopolitan, they don’t have college educations, they don’t understand the larger ramifications in foreign policy. And we just do not believe that they were afforded the opportunities and the respect that they should have by this administration.””
Pat Smith can relate.
Barfi also claimed that Sotloff was sold to ISIS by moderate Syrian rebels, saying that these were the same ‘moderates’ that some are seeking the Obama administration to support in Syria’s civil war against the Assad government.
Barfi says he is a childhood friend of Steven Sotloff. He challenged ISIS directly in Arabic in a press conference held last week at the Sotloff family home in the Miami, Florida suburbs.
Barfi is a former reporter for the AP and is currently a Research Fellow at the New America Foundation where he specializes in Arab and Islamic affairs.