The former employer of murdered journalist James Foley revealed on Wednesday that the militant Islamic State group (formerly known as ISIS) issued a prior threat that it would kill him.
Philip Balboni, the CEO of GlobalPost—which was one of the outlets Foley worked for in Syria before his kidnapping in 2012, and which had been working assiduously for his freedom—told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that his organization had been in contact with Foley's captors.
"There was at one time a receptivity to a negotiation that would lead to a release," he said. "It's impossible to say because the kidnappers ceased to communicate with us, with the family."
Mitchell asked Balboni if the American bombing of IS targets in Iraq could have influenced the decision to behead Foley.
"I think that it was clear that the onset of the bombing—which was done for very good and sufficient reason by our government—perhaps was the thing that sealed Jim's fate," he said.
He then revealed that Foley's family had recently received a message from IS about him.
"We've not released this, but there was one communication after the bombing began that went to the family that stated that Jim would be executed," Balboni said. "We hoped and prayed that it would not. We did everything we could ourselves to convey to them that Jim was just an innocent journalist who loved the Syrian people, who understood Islam and who only wanted to tell the story of the Syrian people."
Later, Balboni spoke to a group of reporters. He said that the threat came last week in the form of an email.
"[It] was full of rage against the United States for the bombing and they stated they would execute Jim," he said. "...Sadly they showed no mercy to Jim."