GOP: Why Aren't Benghazi Suspects on Terror Tipline?

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 12:35 PM

By Melanie Batley

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House Republicans are stepping up the pressure on the Obama administration to explain why the suspected Benghazi attackers were not included in the State Department's terror tip program, which offers multimillion-dollar payouts for tips leading to wanted terrorists.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas and Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia, who has called for a special committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, have written to the State Department demanding release of records that might indicate whether the administration even considered including the suspects as part of its Rewards for Justice Program, Fox News reports.

In the Nov. 8 letter, the lawmakers request "any and all State Department records including meeting records, memoranda, emails, or other documents — pertaining to the use of the Rewards for Justice Program as a means of obtaining information leading to the capture of anyone involved in or responsible for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens."

They also point out that they have yet to receive a response from Secretary of State John Kerry to a letter sent last month, and signed by 84 members of Congress, demanding answers about why Benghazi suspects were not part of the program. Why, they asked, "such an important counterterrorism tool could not be used by the administration" in the case of Benghazi.

The letters reflect the growing pressure on the Obama administration to release more information about its handling of the attack after a CBS "60 Minutes" on Oct. 27 revealed the government had repeatedly been warned that the American compound was vulnerable to an imminent terrorist attack.

Since the 1980s, the Rewards for Justice program has paid out more than $125 million to dozens of tipsters for information on alleged terrorists, according to Fox.

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