At a press conference on Friday, a White House adviser said the killing of U.S. photojournalist James Foley by the jihadist group ISIS "absolutely" constituted a terrorist attack against the United States. Foley, who had been held captive by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2012, was beheaded by a member of the group in a gruesome video released on Tuesday.
At the conference, a reporter asked White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes about Foley's death.
"Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell said of James Foley's death, quote, 'This is ISIS's first terrorist attack against the United States.' Do you agree with that assessment? Is that a terrorist attack against the United States?" the reporter asked.
"Well, absolutely," Rhodes responded. "When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack. That represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen. And I think all of us have the Foley family in our thoughts and prayers."
Asked whether the U.S. will consider airstrikes against ISIS agents within Syria, Rhodes suggested the White House will not be limited by borders.
"You heard the president say we will be relentless against ISIL. And we will do what's necessary to protect Americans and see that justice is done for what we saw with the barbaric killing of Jim Foley," Rhodes said. "We're actively considering what's going to be necessary to deal with that threat. And we're not going to be restricted by borders. We have shown time and again that if there is a counterterrorism threat, we'll take direct action against that threat, if necessary."
Rhodes didn't suggest any real limitations to U.S. strikes against ISIS. "And so if we see plotting against Americans, we see a threat to the United States emanating from anywhere, we stand ready to take action against that threat. We have made very clear time and again that if you come after Americans, we're going to come after you, wherever you are."