White House Had Prior Information on Islamic State Killing James Foley

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | August 21, 2014 8:56 AM EST

The U.S. government was apparently aware that the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, was going to kill American journalist James Foley as a response to the airstrike U.S. President Barack Obama had earlier authorised on the militant organisation.

Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, during his vacation August 20, 2014. Obama on Wednesday vowed that the United States will not be swayed from airstrikes against Islamic State after the group beheaded an American journalist, an act he said is proof that the militants stand for no religion. Obama's response to the execution of James Foley marked his strongest condemnation yet of Islamic State militants, and he gave no sign of a pause in U.S. targeting of militant positions in Iraq.

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James Foley Beheading Video [Graphic]

Global Post CEO Philip Balboni said that the news company had received information of the possible execution through an email on Aug 13. He said that the information had been shared with the White House. The email was "filled with rage against the United States," Balboni said, "It was deadly serious." The threats apparently intensified after President Obama had authorised the airstrike on the Islamic State militants.

The Islamic State beheaded Foley and posted the graphic video online. At the end of the video, the masked militant who killed Foley held another U.S. journalist Steven Joel Sotloff and said that his life would depend on how Obama would process further on the Iraq crisis. In the beheading video earlier posted on YouTube but later deleted due to the graphic nature of it, Foley himself blamed the U.S. government for his impending death. Now that reports claim that the White House had prior information about the killing; one may wonder if the Obama administration could have done something to prevent Foley's death.

The U.S. president said that the entire world was "appalled" by the beheading video, if genuine. He also said that Foley's death had shocked "the conscience on the entire world." Foley was kidnapped in Syria around a couple of years back while he was working in the Middle-Eastern country as a photo-journalist. The U.S. intelligence has, in the meantime, confirmed that the beheading video is authentic.

Foley asked his parents to "save some dignity" by refusing any compensation that the U.S. government might offer to them for his death. In a dramatic speech before he had been beheaded, Foley explained how the U.S. government was responsible for his death. Obama, on the other hand, told his parents that he was "heartbroken" about the killing which was one of the "cowardly acts of violence" by the Islamic State.

Foley's father Jon later talked to reporters and said that he was proud of his son. "Jimmy's free and we know he's in God's hands and we know he's in heaven," he said, "We're so proud of him."

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, during his vacation August 20, 2014. Obama on Wednesday vowed that the United States will not be swayed from airstrikes against Islamic State after the group beheaded an American journalist, an act he said is proof that the militants stand for no religion. Obama's response to the execution of James Foley marked his strongest condemnation yet of Islamic State militants, and he gave no sign of a pause in U.S. targeting of militant positions in Iraq.
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