Benghazi Reward Draws Questions from LawmakersBy: Pam Wright - November 16, 2013
The State Department’s announcement on Friday that it has quietly offered up to $10 Million Dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, killing US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, drew questions from many lawmakers.
The State Department did not list the attack on the ‘Rewards for Justice’ website, raising questions about the effectiveness of offering a multi-million dollar reward without posting it on the site or making it publicly known, as is usually done.
After months of criticism that the Obama administration was not doing enough to apprehend the terrorists, Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, on Oct. 30, asking why the State Department had not posted a reward on “Rewards for Justice” website.
“We fail to understand how such an important counterterrorism tool could not be used by the administration when you and the President claim that bringing the assailants to justice is such a high priority,” said the letter.
The State Department’s response came Friday in a letter to McCaul by Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield, acknowledging that the department has quietly been offering money since Jan. 7, stating that they did not post the reward on the site for security reasons.
“The State Department today confirmed that since January of 2013 the Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program has had a reward offer of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual involved in the September 11-12, 2012 Benghazi attacks,” the department said in its statement.
Defending its position to keep quiet about the reward, the State Department stated, “Due to security issues and sensitivities surrounding the investigation, the event-specific reward offer has not been publicly advertised on the RFJ website,” adding that the program’s tools can be “utilized in a variety of ways, without publicizing them.”