Sotloff Family Spokesman: Syria’s ‘So-Called Moderate Rebels’ Sold Sotloff To ISIS

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
Font Size:

A spokesman for the family of murdered journalist Steven Sotloff claimed Monday night that Sotloff was sold to the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by Syria’s “so-called moderate rebels.”

Sotloff family spokesman Barak Barfi, a foreign policy research fellow at the New American Foundation, made the startling claim in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“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 and that was the reason he was captured,” Barfi said. (RELATED: Expert Who Traveled With Syrian Rebels Says So-Called ‘Moderates’ Are Muslim Brotherhood-Style Islamists)

Asked how he knows this, Barfi referred to sources he and the Sotloff family have “on the ground.”

Barfi then turned his ire toward the Obama administration for making “a number of inaccurate statements.”

“They’ve said that the families have been consistently and regularly informed. That is not true,” he claimed. “I speak now only from the Sotloff family. I can’t speak for the other families. They said that these hostages were moved frequently. We know that for most of the beginning of part of this year they were stationary. We know that the intelligence community and the White House are enmeshed in a larger game of bureaucratic infighting and [murdered journalist] Jim [Foley] and Steve are pawns in that game and that’s not fair.”

Barfi even threatened to reveal more damning information about the Obama administration’s handling of the situation if the administration didn’t stop leaking details of Sotloff’s captivity to the press. 

“If there continues to be leaks, the Sotloff family will have to speak out to set the record straight,” he said. 

“The relationship between the administration and the Sotloff family was very strained,” Barfi explained. “We do not believe that they gave us the cooperation that they need. Once Steve appeared in that video, the Sotloff family made one simple request of the administration and they were rebuffed on that.”

“I can’t say that because I have to think of protecting the other hostages inside,” Barfi said when asked to explain the request.

Ultimately, Barfi said the Obama administration treated Sotloff’s family inappropriately.

“When your view into the largest and most powerful government in the world is two FBI agents, that’s simply not enough,” he said. “The administration could have done more, they could have helped us, they could have seen them through. These are people of modest means. They’re not cosmopolitan, they don’t have college educations, they don’t understand the larger ramifications in foreign policy. And we just do not believe that they were afforded the opportunities and the respect that they should have by this administration.”

Follow Jamie on Twitter