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'More That Could Have Been Done' To Help Foley, His Brother Says

Faulting the U.S. approach to dealing with hostage situations, Michael Foley says more could have been done to free his brother, American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by extremist group the Islamic State after being held captive since 2012.

From Yahoo News:

"'There's more that could have been done directly on Jim's behalf,' Michael Foley, 38, told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric in an exclusive interview from his parents' home in New Hampshire. 'I really, really hope that Jim's death pushes us to take another look at our approach to terrorist and hostage negotiations.'"

Foley said part of the problem is that the U.S. position of not negotiating with terrorists or paying ransoms isn't consistent with other countries.

He said, "We are sitting on prisoners in Guantanamo. It doesn't even have to be financial. There's ways to do it. ... I just feel strongly that more can be done, moving forward."

Michael Foley also said he hopes the government takes action quickly on behalf of the remaining hostages held by the Islamic State. A video the group released of Foley's killing included a warning that another journalist, Time's Steven Joel Sotloff, would also die if the U.S. didn't meet its demands.

James Foley's captors set several conditions for his release in the nearly two years they held him hostage. Communicating with Foley's family and GlobalPost, the company he worked for as a freelancer in Syria, they demanded a ransom of around $130 million and called for a prisoner exchange orchestrated by the U.S.

GlobalPost CEO Phil Balboni detailed the fight to save Foley in an interview with Fresh Air yesterday, in which he said:

"It's very easy to have these theoretical policies about not paying a ransom until you're faced with the real life-and-death situation. Personally — and I know I speak for the Foleys as well — we would've paid a ransom. We were working very hard to raise the money. We had extensive conversations about this with branches of the United States government, with legal counsel."

But Mark Foley says that some in his family lost hope on Aug. 12, when they received an email from militants in the Islamist State that he calls "chilling."

"It's just full of so much hate," he said.

That email has been published on the GlobalPost website. It includes the statement that, "You and your citizens will pay the price of your bombings! The first of which being the blood of the American citizen, James Foley!"

Foley's sister, Katie, who also spoke to Couric from the family's home, added, "I don't know how a human being can even have that amount of fierce, intense hate for someone else, or for something. I don't even understand where that type of hate comes from."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.