Two House Republicans have proposed legislation that would require the U.S. government to offer a $5 million reward for information about the 2012 Benghazi attacks that left four Americans dead.
The bill from Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) would require the State Department to offer the reward under the Rewards for Justice program. That program was created in 1984, and since then, more than $100 million has been given to dozens of people with valuable information that leads to the arrest of terrorists.
The bill from Burgess and Huelskamp reflects the ongoing Republican criticism that the Obama administration has done little or nothing to investigate who was behind the 2012 attack and bring those responsible to justice.
“The day after the attack, President Obama said, ‘We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done,’” Burgess said. “But it has been 19 months since the tragedy in Benghazi that killed four Americans, and no justice has been done.
“The families of the brave Americans who paid the ultimate price in Benghazi deserve peace after all of this time. While the Obama administration’s refusal to prioritize this investigation has certainly set us back on achieving that goal of justice, we as a Congress are doing whatever we can to get to the bottom of what happened in order to ensure a tragic event like never happens again. This bill is an important step towards closing the book on Benghazi once and for all.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offered a similar bill last year after complaining that the administration is not making every effort to find those who killed the four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“U.S. investigators should have all available tools at their disposal to bring to justice those who murdered four Americans in Benghazi, including the first Ambassador killed in service since 1979,” Cruz said in November.
GOP criticism over how Benghazi is being handled exploded again this week, after new emails showed officials tried to play down the coordinated attack as a spontaneous uprising.
An email obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that White House officials ignored the State Department’s initial report that the U.S. Consulate was the target of a planned attack, and instead said it was a protest in response to an anti-Muslim video. The email shows the White House tried to ensure that then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice portrayed the attack as a response to a video, “and not a broader failure [of] policy.”
Republicans pounced on the new details, and said the emails show the White House tried to protect President Barack Obama by blaming the attacks on something else other than a policy failure.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) blasted it as new evidence that the administration “misled Congress, the media and most importantly, the American people.”
“Some may say, what difference at this point does it make?” Cantor said, a dig at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remark before Congress on the attack. “Well, four brave Americans were killed in Benghazi and to date it appears that more has been done to protect internal emails than to bring the murderers of these Americans to justice.”