Could Ransom Have Saved James Foley?

Islamic State demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom for his release

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 21, 2014 5:49 AM CDT | Updated Aug 21, 2014 7:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – Special forces reportedly tried to free journalist James Foley in Syria earlier this summer, but to no avail. A ransom, however, may have gotten the job done. The Islamic State, which filmed the decapitation of the 40-year-old video journalist who'd been held hostage since 2012, had demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom for his release, reports the New York Times. Next in line, they suggested in the video, is Steven Sotloff, a freelance journalist for Time also being held for ransom.

But while several European countries have paid millions to terrorist groups to free its citizens, the US refuses to negotiate with terrorists. Ditto Britain. The Islamic State is holding three Americans alongside citizens of the UK, according to former hostages, and neither will pay up. This inconsistent approach to ransoms may have led to Foley's murder, writes David Rohde for Reuters; Rohde was himself abducted by the Taliban five years ago only to escape through a window. "I feel so strongly that Jim had incredible courage," Global Post CEO Philip Balboni told NPR yesterday, before breaking down in tears. "I watched the video of his death and I'm ... excuse me ... he was brave right to the final minute. And we can't let that go." In another twist, Foley's executioner appears to be British, reports ABC News.

FILE - This September 2012 file photo posted on the website freejamesfoley.org shows journalist James Foley in Aleppo, Syria.In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage,...
FILE - This September 2012 file photo posted on the website freejamesfoley.org shows journalist James Foley in Aleppo, Syria.In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants...   (AP Photo/freejamesfoley.org, Manu Brabo, File)
In this 2011 photo, journalist James Foley receives applause from students at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School in Framingham, Mass.
In this 2011 photo, journalist James Foley receives applause from students at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School in Framingham, Mass.   (AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh)
James Foley in Aleppo, Syria, in July 2012.
James Foley in Aleppo, Syria, in July 2012.   (AP Photo/freejamesfoley.org, Nicole Tung, File)
James Foley responds to questions during an interview with the AP in Boston, Friday, May 27, 2011.
James Foley responds to questions during an interview with the AP in Boston, Friday, May 27, 2011.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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