Barak Barfi – speaking on behalf of the family of Steven Sotloff, the Israeli-American journalist executed by Islamic State terrorists – revealed details of Sotloff’s abduction and attacked the Obama Administration’s handling of the situation.
A week after the world was exposed to the gruesome decapitation of Israeli-American journalist Steven Sotloff, a spokesman for the family reveals details of his capture and accuses the Obama Administration of using Sotloff and other American hostages as pawns in a political game.
Talking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday, Barak Barfi, the family spokesman, said that Sotloff was sold to Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terrorists by the Al-Nusra Front Syrian rebels, who are considered “moderate” by the administration and are even supported by them.
“For the first time, we can say Steven was sold at the border. Steven’s name was on the list that he had been responsible for the bombing of a hospital. This was false. Activists spread his name around. We believe that the so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support; one of them sold him probably for something between $25,000 and $50,000 to ISIS (Islamic State). And that was the reason that he was captured. Somebody at the border crossing made a phone call to ISIS and they set up a fake checkpoint, with many people and Steve and his people that he went in with could not escape.”
Barfi said they knew this information from their “sources on the ground.”
Relationship with US Administration ‘Strained’
When asked about the Obama administration’s reaction to this information, Barfi said: “The administration has made a number of inaccurate statements. They’ve said that the families have been consistently and regularly informed. That is not true… They said that these hostages were moved frequently. We know that most of the beginning 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 Jim (Foley) and Steve are pawns in that game. And that’s not fair.”
Barfi conceded that the relationship between the U.S. administration and the Sotloff family was very strained, saying, “We do not believe that they gave us the cooperation we need.”
“The administration could have done more,” Barfi concluded. “They could have helped us, they could have seen them through. I don’t believe they (the Sotloff family) were afforded the opportunities of respect they should have been afforded by this administration.”
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary and assistant to the president, responded by stating that that the administration had no information indicating that Sotloff was sold. “From what I know, this information is inaccurate,” he said.
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel