DOJ tells James Foley’s family ISIS Beatle is still in federal custody, despite confusing reports

The incarcerated member of an ISIS terror cell known as “the Beatles” who reportedly went missing from U.S. custody may not be missing after all.

“The DOJ has told us that Kotey is very much in federal custody in the US,” a spokesperson for the family of victim James Foley told the Daily Mail.

Foley is one of several individuals who were abducted and then murdered by Alexanda Kotey, 39, known as “Jihadi George,” and his peers in “the Beatles.’

But if he’s in federal custody, then why isn’t he showing up in federal databases? Speaking with the Daily Mail, one unnamed national security expert theorized that he’s been pulled aside for interrogation.

“There is a high likelihood he has been moved to a secure location to speak with government officials – or non-government individuals – related to information he may possess that hasn’t been made public,” the expert said.

“It could relate to the recovery of bodies the group was responsible for while they were illegally held. For instance, U.S. hostages that were killed by the Beatles,” they added.

Another expert, Dr. Joseph Downing of the London School of Economics, meanwhile guessed that Kotey may have ostensibly gone missing because of an “administrative error.”

“It does happen regularly in prison systems globally but is not often discussed. For example, the wrong inmates are regularly released due to record keeping errors, or the wrong inmate being selected or, in some cases even inmates agreeing to try and let someone out to defraud the system for money or status,” he said.

“You would imagine such a high-security high-profile prisoner would have been double and triple verified daily so a serious lapse or security has been made. However it is highly unlikely that if he is outside he will be out for long due to his high-profile English accent and lack of immigration status and documents,” he added.

The other possibility, Downing said, is that Kotey cut some sort of deal. Is this possible? Maybe. Prior to his sentencing in August, he “accepted a plea deal in return for a more lenient sentence which notably included ‘cooperation requirements’.

“The plea deal also meant he was allowed to serve out his time in Canaan, as opposed to ADX Florence prison in Colorado – nicknamed the ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies,’” according to the LBC.

For its part, the Bureau of Prisons continues to maintain its original story.

“There are several reasons why an inmate may be referenced as ‘not in BOP custody’. Inmates who were previously in BOP custody and who have not completed their sentence may be outside BOP custody for a period of time for court hearings, medical treatment or for other reasons,” a spokesperson said in a statement to the media.

“We do not provide specific information on the status of inmates who are not in the custody of the BOP for safety, security, or privacy reasons,” the spokesperson added.

As previously reported, Kotey’s name now “no longer appears on US custody records at Pennsylvania’s high-security Canaan prison,” according to the LBC.

“Sentenced to life in prison in August after pleading guilty to eight counts of abduction, torture and the beheading of western hostages, his name has now seemingly been scrubbed from Federal Bureau of Prisons records,” the British outlet reported Thursday.

Family members of his victims weren’t pleased by the news. Particularly Bethany Haines, whose father, British man David Haines, was kidnapped by Kotey and then executed by the other “Beatles.”

“I was made aware that Kotey had disappeared from the system and it has been impossible to trace where he is. That doesn’t seem right, because I don’t want to think that he has managed to negotiate his way into any kind of easy treatment on the basis of him assisting authorities or anything else,” she said in a statement to the Scottish Daily Record.

“In the past, he has been traceable, as we have access to data via the US victim notification scheme, and we at least had the reassurance that he was in a high security facility. The last we heard he was in a maximum security jail in Pennsylvania, which is renowned for violence, and I was fine with that because I don’t want to hear about him getting any easy time,” she continued.

Haines added that she doesn’t “think it is right that he can just disappear from the system and the families whose lives were devastated by his actions are left to wonder where he is.”


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