White House chief of staff Denis McDonough on Sunday disputed claims that the Obama administration threatened to prosecute the families of the journalists killed by ISIS.
On Friday, Steven Sotloff’s family told Yahoo News that White House counterterrorism official told them that if they paid a ransom to ISIS, they could face criminal prosecution. The family of James Foley recalled similar threats from the White House.
Fox News’ John Roberts on Sunday confronted McDonough about these claims.
“They’re very upset about the way that the White House handled this. Why would theWhite House say something like that to them?” Roberts asked McDonough on “Fox News Sunday.”
The chief of staff responded by saying that he has been praying for the family before contesting the their claims.
“In terms of what was communicated to the families, in the midst of many, many meetings over the course of this very difficult circumstance, we obviously made clear what the law is,” McDonough said. “We didn’t threaten anybody, but we made clear what the law is. That’s our responsibility to make sure we explain the law and uphold the law.”
“We took every effort and will continue to take every effort to secure people,” he added.