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Josh Earnest Learns During WH Press Briefing of Reports that Steve Sotloff was Beheaded

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 14.44.15During today’s White House press briefing with Josh Earnest and moments after initial reports that American journalist Steve Sotloff was beheaded by ISIS, TIME’s Zeke Miller asked Earnest about the reports or for reaction, which the White House press secretary had yet to learn or see.

“This is something that the administration has obviously been watching very carefully since this threat against Mr. Sotloff’s life was originally made a few weeks ago,” said Earnest this afternoon. “Our thoughts and prayers, first and foremost, are with Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Sotloff’s family, and those who worked with him. The United States, as you know, has dedicated significant time and resources to trying and rescue Mr. Sotloff.”

Earnest went on to say, “I’m not in a position to confirm the authenticity of that video or the reports at this point since I obviously just walked out here. If there is a video that has been released, it is something that will be analyzed very carefully by the U.S. government and our intelligence officials to determine its authenticity.”

Sotloff was a freelance journalist and had contributed to TIME, for which Miller is a political reporter. Miller later retweeted a TIME statement by editor Nancy Gibbs, tweeted moments earlier by Andrew Katz.

News of Sotloff’s apparent murder comes two weeks after the same group beheaded American photojournalist James Foley.

Click here for C-SPAN coverage of today’s press briefing, with Miller’s question at the 15:30 mark.

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