WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria reportedly demanded a ransom of $132 million for the release of American journalist James Foley.
Philip Balboni, chief executive officer of GlobalPost, the news organization Foley worked for when he was taken captive in Syria, told The Wall Street Journal that the extremists demanded a ransom from Foley’s family and the news organization of $132 million for the journalist’s release. Balboni says that the ransom was shared with “appropriate government authorities.”
Balboni told reporters Wednesday that the terror group sent an email sent to Foley’s family last week, threatening to kill their son. He said the email was “full of rage” but it made no demands. He says the kidnappers ignored pleas for mercy.
Balboni says the company spent millions on efforts to bring Foley home, including hiring an international security firm.
The 40-year-old journalist from Rochester, New Hampshire, was beheaded by Islamic State militants. A video recording of the slaying was released Tuesday.
Foley was abducted in northern Syria in November 2012 and had not been heard from since.
The White House revealed that the U.S. had launched a secret rescue mission inside Syria earlier this summer that failed to rescue Foley and other Americans still being held hostage.
The secret mission to rescue the U.S. hostages involved several dozen special operations forces dropped by aircraft into Syria. The hostages weren’t found, but special forces engaged in a firefight with Islamic State militants before departing, according to administration officials. Several militants were killed, and one American sustained minor injuries.
“The U.S. government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens,” Lisa Monaco, Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.”
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