WASHINGTON --Senior Obama administration officials say the U.S. military launched a secret mission earlier this summer to rescue a number of Americans held captive by militants in Syria but failed to find them.
The officials say the American hostages were not at a location where the U.S. believed they were being held. The mission was carried out by several dozen special operations troops who were on the ground inside Syria for a short period of time.
The officials detailed the mission one day after Islamic State militants announced they had beheaded one of the hostages and threatened to kill another.
The officials discussed the mission under ground rules that they would not be identified.
CEO: Kidnappers threatened Foley's life last week
The chief executive officer of a Boston-based media company says James Foley's kidnappers last week threatened to kill him in response to U.S. bombings in Iraq.
Foley was freelancing for GlobalPost when he disappeared in Syria. GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni told reporters Wednesday that the threatening email sent to Foley's family was "full of rage" but made no demands. He says the kidnappers ignored pleas for mercy.
Balboni says the company spent millions on efforts to bring Foley home, including hiring an international security firm.
The 40-year-old journalist from Rochester, New Hampshire, was beheaded by Islamic State militants. A video recording of the slaying was released Tuesday.
Foley was abducted in northern Syria in November 2012 and had not been heard from since.
President Obama: U.S. won't stop confronting Islamic state
President Barack Obama pledged Wednesday to continue to confront Islamic State militants despite the beheading of an American journalist in Iraq, standing firm in the face of the militants' threats to kill another hostage unless the U.S. military changes course.
Obama's remarks affirmed that the U.S. would not change its military posture in Iraq in response to the killing of journalist James Foley. Since the video was released, the U.S. military has pressed ahead by conducting nearly a dozen airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq.
Calling the Islamic State a cancer, Obama forcefully condemned the group that seized territory in Iraq and Syria, and he called for a vigilant, relentless and global effort to curtail an organization he said is torturing, raping and murdering thousands of people in "cowardly acts of violence."
"ISIL speaks for no religion," Obama said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State. "Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just god would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day."
Obama spoke at a media center set up by the White House on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, where Obama is in the second week of his annual summer vacation.