The mother of James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last month, issued harsh words for the U.S. government which she believes did not do enough to save her son.
“As an American I was embarrassed and appalled,” Diane Foley told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview airing Thursday. “I think our efforts to get Jim freed were an annoyance.”
“An annoyance to the government?” Cooper asked.
“Yes and it wasn’t — didn’t seem to be in our strategic interest if you will,” said Foley. “I was appalled as an American. Jim would have been saddened — Jim believed til the end that his country would come to their aid.”
Foley was captured in northern Syria in Nov. 2012 while reporting the civil war there. He fell into the hands of the ISIS, the brutal jihadist group, which released a videotape of his beheading on Aug. 19. Another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, was also murdered in the same manner. ISIS released a video of his death earlier this month.
In her interview with Cooper, Foley gave insight into interactions between her family and the federal government, which she says indicated that Foley would be rescued.
“We were, you know asked to not go to the media – to just trust that it would be taken care of,” she said. “We were told that we could not raise ransom, that it was illegal, we might be prosecuted.”
“You were told you would actually be prosecuted?” asked Cooper.
“Yes that that was a real possibility, told that many times,” Foley replied. “We were told that our government would not exchange prisoners, would not do a military action. So we were just told to trust that he would be freed somehow miraculously and he wasn’t was he?”
The U.S., along with the United Kingdom, stand apart from other nations in that both refuse to negotiate with or pay ransom to terrorist organizations. Journalists and captives from other countries, such as France, have been freed after ransoms were paid.
“I pray that our government will be willing to learn from the mistakes that were made and to acknowledge that there are better ways for American citizens to be treated,” Foley said.
The Obama administration reportedly attempted to save Foley, Sotloff and other prisoners. In a late night raid on July 3 near Raqqa, in northern Syria, a Delta Force unit exchanged fire with and killed several ISIS fighters. Delta Force reportedly found evidence that suggested that Foley and Sotloff — along with any other prisoners they were held with — had been at the location as few as three days before.