Sotloff family spokesman blasts administration; he was sold by ‘so-called Syrian rebel moderates’

A man who was with murdered journalist Steven Sotloff the morning of his capture contended that the Middle East correspondent was sold to the terrorist group almost immediately, indicating that it was a planned operation.

Speaking Monday on “Anderson Cooper 360,” close friend and Sotloff family spokesman Barak Barfi told his host, “We believe that these so-called moderate rebels that people want our administration to support, one of them sold him probably for $25,000 to $50,000 to ISIS and that was the reason he was captured.”

He knew this from “sources on the ground” but could go no further because ISIS holds other individuals captive.

Barfi blasted the Obama administration for its inaccurate public statements and poor liaison.

He rejected the White House claim that hostages were moved frequently. “We know that for most of the beginning of this part of the 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 said that if leaks of their captivity continued, the Sotloffs would go public “to set the record straight.”

He referred to a September 5 Wall Street Journal article which detailed the circumstances of the failed July 3 Special Forces rescue raid, and the friction between the Pentagon and the White House. He indicated that the argument over surveillance photographs led to the lack of success.

“We do not believe that they [the Obama administration] gave us the cooperation that they need. Once Steve appeared in that video, the Satloff family made one simple request…and they were rebuffed.”

Asked what that was, Barfi said he could not reveal it, in order to protect other hostages still held inside Syria.

He added that the administration needed to set up a crisis center in the White House, with permanent contact points to attend to the families and loved ones of those ensnared by the terrorists overseas.

“When your view into the largest and most powerful government in the world is two FBI agents, that’s simply not enough,” he said.

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Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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