News Column

Steven Sotloff Beheading Video Confirmed as Real

September 3, 2014

UPI International Top News

The White House has confirmed the Islamic State video posted online Tuesday showing the execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff is "authentic."

"The U.S. Intelligence Community has analyzed the recently released video showing U.S. citizen Steven Sotloff and reached judgment it is authentic," the National Security Council announced Wednesday morning.

While the video was under analysis, the White House commented Tuesday evening that "If [the] video is genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent journalist and express our deepest condolences to his family and friends."

The video, entitled "A Second Message to America," was posted online Tuesday, appearing very similar to the video posted two weeks earlier showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley and a threat that Sotloff would be executed next if U.S. military involvement in Iraq continued.

In the new footage, Sotloff is shown kneeling, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, alongside an Islamic State militant armed with a knife. Sotloff calmly addresses the camera, saying in part: "Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for the preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?"

Sotloff's mother, Shirley Sotloff, appealed to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last week to spare her son's life, delivering a recorded video message that was aired by Al Arabyia news station. In the video, she pleaded, "As a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over."

Sotloff, 31, was working as a freelance journalist in Syria when he was abducted last year.

According to the SITE Intelligence group, the IS executioner is the same person in both videos. British Ambassador to the U.S. Peter Westmacott told CNN's State of the Union late last month that the identity of the IS militant, who speaks with a British accent, was "close" to being known.

The identity of the executioner, if known, has not yet been revealed.

Just as in the Foley video, another hostage's life is threatened at the end of the footage; this time: British journalist David Haines.

Editor's note: UPI will not reproduce, in part or in whole, the videos posted by IS. This is out of respect to the Foley and Sotloff families and because the videos constitute propaganda for a group designated as a terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States.

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Original headline: White House: Islamic State video of Sotloff execution real


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