(USNewsMag.com) – The mother of freelance journalist James Foley, who was abducted and beheaded by the Islamic State group, is criticizing former President Barack Obama’s hostage policy in her new book.
Written by his mother, Diane Foley, and Irish writer Colum McCann, the book “American Mother” tells the story of how he was abducted while reporting on the Syrian civil war in 2012. For 21 months, James Foley was held in detention while his family begged the U.S. government for help. In July 2014, a rescue operation was attempted to save Foley and other hostages, though ISIS had moved them before they could be rescued. His execution was recorded by ISIS, which used it as propaganda for ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
While promoting the book, his mother said she quit her job to travel to Washington to get help for her son, where she assumed “people were trying to help.” She said instead, “They lied to me,” adding that they “were patronizing” her. Other countries, such as France, were getting their hostages released by paying ransoms secretly, while the Obama administration continued to refuse any hostage negotiations, she stated. She added that the administration threatened legal action against any family who tried to pay ransoms privately.
Three months after her son’s death, Diane Foley said she confronted Obama at the White House, where he told her his “number one priority” had been James. She responded by telling Obama that the government had abandoned the U.S. hostages. She added that she was also upset with Obama, who was on vacation and photographed golfing, where he gave his condolences to the family.
Diane Foley noted that U.S. policy has changed because of her son’s death. In 2015, crisis units that liaise with families were created, and the Obama administration began to allow negotiations with hostage takers. Instead of using special forces to rescue hostages, a special envoy for hostage rescues was established in 2020 with bipartisan support.
The book will be released in February in Britain and in March in the United States.
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