Early this morning, the White House confirmed the authenticity of the tragic video showing Steven Sotloff's beheading. National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden offered this statement to press:
The U.S. Intelligence Community has analyzed the recently released video showing U.S. citizen Steven Sotloff and has reached the judgment that it is authentic. We will continue to provide updates as they are available."
Sotloff was a freelance journalist working in Syria at the time of his disappearance. He is both an American and Israeli citizen. Nancy Gibbs, the editor of TIME, a former employer of Sotloff's, offered this statement to The Wire:
We are shocked and deeply saddened by reports of Steven Sotloff’s death. Steven was a valued contributor to TIME and other news organizations, and he gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
Our UCF family mourns Steven’s death, and we join millions of people around the world who are outraged at this despicable and unjustifiable act.”
ISIL also has a third hostage, David Cawthorne Haines, whose life was threatened in the video of Sotloff's beheading. The executioner appears to be the same man from the first video showing James Foley's death. Haines is British, and it is believed the executioner was raised and educated in London.