Was beheaded American journalist James Foley’s murderer released from Guantanamo Bay?

The Islamic State militant group beheaded American photojournalist James Foley in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, according to reports Tuesday.

Foley, 40, was captured in Syria while on assignment for the Boston-based Global Post in 2012. He disappeared on Thanksgiving day. The terrorists released a video of the execution, which is being examined for authenticity by the White House.

A White House statement by National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, “We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen James Foley by ISIL. The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will provide more information when it is available.”

A second prisoner, believed to be missing American journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, also appeared in the video as the killers sent a message directly to President Obama.

“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”

The Washington Post reported on the possible significance to the orange jumpsuits worn by the prisoners, linking them to Guantanamo Bay, at least symbolically. Speculation and criticism for Obama’s recent release of dangerous GITMO prisoners immediately followed:

A European intelligence official said the British government was examining the video, and the speech of the purported executioner, to compare it with former Guantanamo Bay prisoners and other British residents believed to have joined the Islamic State.

Both prisoners in the video are wearing orange shirts and pants, similar to orange jumpsuits worn by detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A similar outfit, believed to be a jihadist symbol of the prison, was worn by Nicholas Berg, an American businessman kidnapped in Iraq in 2004 whose execution by an Islamic State precursor organization was recorded on video and posted online.

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