The New York Times reports that the Islamic militant group ISIS originally demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom before ultimately beheading American journalist James Foley.
As the Times points out, although the militant group's spokesman called the graphic video of Foley's execution retaliation for American airstrikes, leaders were apparently quietly willing to let Foley go home—in exchange for a reported $100 million.
According to the Times, ISIS also demanded prisoner swaps in the negotiations for Foley and three other American hostages.
The United States policy is to refuse ransom demands, which they did, but President Obama did approve a failed rescue mission in July.
Experts say ISIS is currently raking in around $1 million per day, much of it reportedly earned through local protection rackets and kidnapping ransoms.