Does the family of journalist Steven Sotloff, the second American beheaded by ISIS on video, have the same kind of “absolute moral authority” liberals claimed Cindy Sheehan possessed, after her son was killed fighting in Iraq? If so, the Obama Administration is in big trouble. Family spokesman Barak Barfi gave an interview to CNN on Monday night in which he didn’t have much good to say about the Administration’s handling of the situation:
Boy, Anderson Cooper looks like he’s wearing a hair suit all through this interview, doesn’t he? But he’s got nothing on Jonathan Topaz at Politico, whose write-up of the interview wins this week’s “Protect the Precious!” Award for striving to minimize the damage to the media’s beloved Super-President:
Appearing on CNN Monday evening, Barak Barfi said that his sources in the region have told him one or more of the Syrian rebels sold Sotloff to ISIL for $25,000-$50,000. He referred to them as “so-called moderate rebels, that people want our administration to support,” a jab at lawmakers and political figures — including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and many others — that have suggested arming the Syrian rebels.
Barfi, a research fellow at the New America Foundation, reserved stronger criticism for the Obama administration, whom he accused of spreading inaccuracies and failing to do enough to secure Sotloff’s release. The White House has confirmed two separate videos released in the last month showing an ISIL militant beheading Sotloff and fellow captured U.S. journalist James Foley.
We know that the intelligence community and the White House are enmeshed in a larger game of bureaucratic infighting and Jim and Steve are pawns in that game and that’s not fair,” he said, in a reference to Foley.
Barfi also said that “the administration has made a number of inaccurate statements,” including that the Sotloff family was kept “regularly informed” regarding Steven and that the hostages were often moved to different locations.
“The relationship between the administration and the Sotloff family was very strained,” he added, saying that the family made one request from the White House following the release of the video and that the administration “rebuffed” them. He elected not to elaborate on the specifics of the request out of respect to the remaining ISIL hostages.
Yeah, let’s slip John McCain into this story out of nowhere, because that’s totally relevant. Barfi didn’t “reserve stronger criticism” for the Administration. He didn’t say anything about John McCain, or Hillary Clinton for that matter. He’s focused like a laser beam on the Administration, which he accuses of not keeping the family in the loop, and not doing enough to rescue Steven Sotloff or fellow ISIS victim James Foley.
Barfi chose some very heavy words to render this criticism: “We know that the intelligence community and the White House are enmeshed in a larger game of bureaucratic infighting, and Jim and Steve are pawns in that game, and that’s not fair.” And he threatened to drop more damaging revelations if the Obama Administration doesn’t stop lying about what happened!
The allegation that “moderate” rebels captured Sotloff and sold him to ISIS is big news, which should be mulled over carefully by everyone who thinks the solution to ISIS involves finding the white hats in the Syrian resistance and giving them American weapons. (The repeated statements by “moderate” Syrian rebel leaders that they don’t want to abandon their fight against Assad to tackle the Islamic State, and don’t trust the Obama Administration to cover their backs, should also be taken into account.) It’s a tough lesson to learn that resistance movements can contain even worse elements than the tyrants they oppose, but it’s not exactly a new lesson. The whole misbegotten “Arab Spring” saga is about Obama’s naive, reflexive belief that anyone who opposes the incumbent dictatorship must be a good guy, or at least a better guy.