American journalist James Foley was executed by the Islamic militant group known as ISIS earlier this week.
The Sunni extremists videotaped Foley's grisly murder and claimed that his beheading was a protest against US foreign policies.
It now seems, however, that Foley's capture and killing were part of a desperate extortion plot.
ISIS reportedly demanded that the US pay a $132 million ransom for Foley's safe return.
The American government refused to pay the ransom, but reportedly - under direct orders from the President Obama - US Marines embarked on an unsuccessful rescue mission to try and save Foley and other captives;
“The U.S. government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens,” said White House counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco.
“Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.”
The rescue mission reportedly resulted in a firefight that killed several ISIS operatives, but no Americans.
Other new details of Foley's execution include the fact that the executioner in his video is a British extremist nicknamed "John" by hostages, due to his resemblance to Beatles singer John Lennon.
Obama has come under fire from conservatives for continuing his vacation in Martha's Vineyard in the days following the murder.