Sotloff was sold by rebels to ISIS, family spokesman says

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Jewish-American journalist Steven Sotloff was kidnapped by a so-called moderate rebel faction and then immediately sold to ISIS, the family’s spokesman said.

Barak Barfi, who said he spoke by phone with Sotloff immediately after he crossed over from Turkey to Syria, called Sotloff, who also had Israeli citizenship, and slain American journalist James Foley “pawns” of the U.S. intelligence community and the White House, during an interview Monday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

He said that ISIS paid between $25,000 and $50,000 for Sotloff, after the rebels set up a fake checkpoint at the border, and that his information has come from what he called “sources on the ground” in Syria.

Both Foley and Sotloff were shown being beheaded by a British assassin in videos released in the last month by ISIS as a “warning” to the United States to halt airstrikes against the Islamist group in Iraq.

Barfi told Cooper that the families were not kept regularly informed by the government and that the hostages were stationary for several months, despite U.S. assertions that the hostages were moved frequently.

“The administration could have done more, they could have helped us, they could have seen them through,” Barfi said.