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ISIS 'Waterboarded' James Foley: Sources

American hostages were treated more harshly than European prisoners and Foley was repeatedly tortured, sources said.

Photojournalist James Foley was repeatedly tortured by his ISIS captors — who even waterboarded him — before he was beheaded, sources told NBC News. As the Washington Post first reported, the Islamic extremists appeared to be deliberately imitating the controversial U.S. "enhanced interrogation technique," which simulates drowning. Waterboarding, which was authorized by President Bush's administration, was banned by President Obama, who denounced it as torture.

Eighteen months after he was abducted in Syria, Foley was decapitated by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which said the beheading was retribution for U.S. airstrikes. Sources familiar with the debriefing of ex-hostages told NBC News that the militants treated the American prisoners more harshly than Europeans they were holding. Several freed captives described a trio of British jihadis nicknamed "The Beatles" who meted out the harshest punishment. "Whenever the Beatles showed up, there was some kind of physical beating or torture," one source said.


— Andrea Mitchell