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Saturday, November 16, 2013

US covertly offers $10-million bounty for data on Benghazi attackers

US covertly offers $10-million bounty for data on Benghazi attackers

A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / STR)A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.(AFP Photo / STR)

The US is offering $10 million dollars as bounty for any info on the attack at its diplomatic post in Libyan Benghazi in 2012. It comes a few months after a Libyan warlord, jihadist leader and former Gitmo prisoner was recaptured as the main suspect.
The US State Department confirmed the reward in a letter to a Republican lawmaker who had enquired about it.

The reward is available for those coming forward with data that leads to the arrest or conviction of any individual involved in the attack. It’s not clear yet if any money has been paid out.

The announcement hasn’t been published on the Rewards of Justice website due to security concerns, the department said.

"Due to security issues and sensitivities surrounding the investigation, the event-specific reward offer has not been publicly advertized on the RFJ website. RFJ tools can be utilized in a variety of ways, without publicizing them on the website," the US State Department's official statement said. 
A burnt house and a car are seen inside the US Embassy compound on September 12, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya following an overnight attack on the building.( AFP Photo / Stringer )
A burnt house and a car are seen inside the US Embassy compound on September 12, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya following an overnight attack on the building.( AFP Photo / Stringer )

However, a State Department official told the Associates Press that a move to not publicize the information was unusual. He added that the reward has been in place since January 7.

In April, a Libyan warlord and jihadist leader Sufyan bin Qumu suspected of being involved in a 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was reportedly wounded and captured during a special operation in the city of Darna, which is known to be an Islamist hub.

The US has also reportedly filed charges over the attack against a Libyan militia chief, Ahmed Abu Khattala, in August, alongside an unknown number of other alleged attackers.

On 11 September 2012, four people, including the US ambassador to Libya at the time, another State Department worker and two ex-Navy Seals, were killed in the attack on the diplomatic post.

The Obama administration has come under fire following the deadly assault over allegedly downplaying the scale of the attack and the low level of security at American diplomatic posts in hot spots. 
In May, the White House released 99 pages of emails from National Security Advisor Susan Rice describing the attack, which initially pointed to a protest against an anti-Islamic film that had spiraled out of control. According to those emails, subsequent drafts made in conjunction with the US intelligence community omitted any mention of terrorism.

Several GOP legislators have taken issue with delays in the investigation, evidently caused by infighting between the FBI, and the Departments of Justice and State.

In October, Senator John McCain went so far as to allege that President Obama had been dishonest in initial media appearances referring to the attack in Benghazi.