First and foremost, people need to understand that America doesn’t
negotiate pay ransom to terrorists. Instead, the government finances them and trades five known terrorist operatives for it wants.
The parents of murdered journalist Steven Sotloff, who was killed by Islamic State extremists, were warned by the White House that they could face criminal prosecution if they paid a ransom to free their son, the family spokesperson told Yahoo News.
According to Barak Barfi, a friend of Sotloff who is serving as a spokesman for his family, the Sotloffs met with a White House counterterrorism official last May.
“The family felt completely and utterly helpless when they heard this,” Barfi said, adding that the journalist’s father was “shaking” after the meeting with the National Security Council official.
Barfi also said that he was at a separate meeting with State Department officials, one of whom mentioned the “material support” law several times and made it “clear” that ransoms to terrorists could result in criminal prosecutions.
The Obama administration follows a strict policy regarding such payments. Viewing it as a form of material aid to terrorist organizations, such money transfers could be considered a violation of federal laws.