MEDIA
09/17/2014 10:06 am ET Updated Sep 21, 2014

Steven Sotloff Friend Says White House 'Bullied' Family, Did Little To Help

A friend and spokesman for the family of murdered journalist Steven Sotloff told CBS News on Wednesday that the Obama administration did very little to help free Sotloff from the ISIS militants who ultimately beheaded him.

Speaking to "CBS This Morning," Barak Barfi said that the Sotloffs received a cold shoulder from the White House after Steven's capture in 2013.

"We never really believed that the administration was doing anything to help us," he said. "We had very limited contact with senior officials."

Co-host Gayle King asked if the family had tried raising money for ransom. Barfi said that all attempts to do so had been discouraged by the US government, which has a policy of not paying ransom for hostages. He also alleged that a representative of the National Security Council had "bullied and hectored" the Sotloffs in a meeting.

Barfi's claims echo those of the parents of James Foley, another journalist murdered by ISIS. The Foleys have been vocal in their criticism of the Obama administration's treatment of their son's case, saying that the White House threatened them over their attempts to raise ransom money and that the government ultimately did little to help them.

The White House has denied threatening anyone and said it did everything it could to free Foley and Sotloff, including making a failed rescue attempt in Syria.

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