Speed Reads

Damage Control

White House denies it threatened families of slain American journalists

The White House is vehemently pushing back against a report that it threatened to prosecute the families of two slain American journalists if they ponied up ransom money to ISIS.

"We didn't threaten anybody, but we made clear what the law is," White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said on Fox News Sunday. "That's our responsibility, to make sure we explain the law and uphold the law."

The White House "took every effort" to rescue both men, McDonough added.

The families of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, the two journalists beheaded by ISIS, claim the Obama administration threatened to prosecute them if they tried to free the men on their own. ISIS had demanded ransom money in exchange for their kidnapped victims, though such payments are illegal as they are considered to be material support for terrorism.