The U.S. had refused to pay a requested $100 million ransom for Foley's release, a representative of the journalist's family and a former hostage held alongside Foley told the Times. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an extremist group that has been terrorizing parts of those countries, released a video Tuesday that showed Foley's beheading.
The newspaper pointed out that al-Qaeda and its affiliates had earned at least $125 million over the last five years in ransom sums for kidnapped Europeans. ISIS had been recently expelled from al-Qaeda.
Separately, Philip Balboni, the president and CEO of GlobalPost, a news website that Foley had been writing for, told the Wall Street Journal that ISIS had asked both Foley's family and Global Post for a $132.5 million ransom. Balboni didn't disclose how they responded to the demand.
The White House said Wednesday that a rescue operation had tried and failed to rescue Foley and other hostages during a secret mission earlier this summer in Syria.