Steven Sotloff beheading.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, who was brutally executed by Islamic State last week, was sold to the jihadist group by Syrian rebels, the spokesman for the Sotloff family said.
“For the first time, we can say Steven was sold at the border,” Barak Barfi told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday. “Steven’s name was on a list that he had been responsible for the bombing of a hospital. This was false. Activists spread his name around.
“We believe that these 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 he was captured,” Barfi told Cooper.
He learned this information from “sources on the ground,” Barfi said.
“Somebody at the border crossing made a phone call to ISIS, and they set up a fake checkpoint with many people, and Steven and his people who he went in with could not escape,” he said.
Barfi also criticized the Obama administration for “inaccurate statements” that have been attributed to government officials who have commented on the case.
“We know that the intelligence community and the White House are enmeshed in a larger game of bureaucratic infighting and Jim [James Foley, the other journalist executed by Islamic State] and Steve are pawns in this game and that’s not fair and if there continues to be leaks, the Sotloff family will have to speak out to set the record straight,” Barfi said.