James Foley’s family members are speaking out, and perhaps unsurprisingly, they have some misgivings about the way the journalist’s kidnapping was handled by the U.S. government.
Foley was taken hostage by armed men in northwest Syria while working on a story for GlobalPost, an online U.S. news company, in 2012 and had been missing since. On Tuesday, Foley was executed on camera in a graphic video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“The United States could’ve done more on behalf of the western and American hostages over there and still dealt with the broader worldwide issues,” Foley’s brother, Michael Foley, told Katie Couric in a wide-ranging interview for Yahoo News. “Take the money aside, there’s more that could’ve been done directly on Jim’s behalf, and I really hope with respect to Steven [Sotloff] that they take some action quickly.”
Sotloff, another freelance journalist who often covered Middle East conflict zones for Time, appeared alongside Foley in the ISIS video — alive — though the armed militant threatens that his life hangs in the balance depending on President Obama’s next move.
The U.S. has strict laws prohibiting the government from negotiating for ransoms with terrorists to free kidnapped citizens, though the Foley family, along with Foley’s employer, GlobalPost, had been in contact with ISIS to negotiate a release. The communication ceased late last Wednesday with one last email from Foley’s captors stating Foley would be executed.
Foley’s siblings also revealed they were angry every time Foley decided to return to covering dangerous war zones after he had been kidnapped by militants loyal to Muammar Gaddafi during the Libyan Civil War in 2011.
“But over time, we’ve learned to understand why,” Michael Foley said. “And how brave he was and how important what he did was to the world.”
Foley’s sister, Katie Foley, also participated in the interview with Couric.