On Monday, Steven Sotloff's family spokesperson, Barak Barfi, told Anderson Cooper that Sotloff had been sold by Syrian rebels to ISIS for up to $50,000, citing "sources on the ground." A variety of outlets, including The Wire, picked up Barfi's comments. The comment made its way to the ears of the White House, which promptly shut down the claim.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest refuted the claim, "Based on the information that has been provided to me, I don't believe that is accurate." The FBI is investigating Sotloff's death, as is David Cameron's administration across the pond, as the third hostage, David Haines, shown in Sotloff's beheading video is a United Kingdom native. The executioner, known only as Jihadi John, likely hails from London.
Barfi also noted that the Sotloff family was "disappointed" with President Barack Obama's actions in regards to the death of both journalists. The Sotloff family has publicly spoken for themselves since the beheading, but Barfi noted they would speak publicly soon.