White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at the daily briefing on Tuesday that he could not confirm reports of the execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff but that the administration's "thoughts and prayers first and foremost are with Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Sotloff's family and those who worked with him." (AP)

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the administration would examine the video that purports to show the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by Islamic militants.

If confirmed, Sotloff would be the second U.S. journalist killed by the Islamic State terrorist organization in the past month. In late August, Sotloff's mother made an impassioned public plea for her son's life.

When asked about it at the daily White House press briefing, Earnest said he was "not in a position to confirm the authenticity of that video or the reports at this point." But, he added, "if there is a video that has been released, it is something that will be analyzed very carefully by the U.S. government and our intelligence officials to determine its authenticity."

"This is something that the... administration has obviously been watching very carefully since this threat against Mr. Sotloff’s life was originally made a few weeks ago," Earnest said. "Our thoughts and prayers, first and foremost, are with Mr. Sotloff and Mr. Sotloff’s family and those who worked with him. The United States, as you know, has dedicated significant time and resources to try and rescue Mr. Sotloff."