The State Department revealed that it is offering a $10 million reward for information leading to an arrest of those responsible for the 2012 Benghazi compound attacks. The reward has actually been up for grabs since January, however officials apparently kept it under wraps for "security" reasons. In a statement to the AFP, a State Department spokesperson also cited "sensitivities surrounding the investigation" as a reason the reward wasn't announced sooner. It's offered as part of the U.S.'s "Rewards for Justice" program.
So far, no one has been arrested for the attacks. The U.S. filed its first round of charges in August against Ahmed Khattalah, a Libyan militia leader long believed to bear some responsibility for the planning and execution of the attack on the diplomatic compound. The specific charges against Khattalah and an unspecified number of other suspects have not been disclosed. FBI Director James Comey gave his first testimony as director on Thursday on the Benghazi investigation, referring to it as one of the agency's "highest priorities." Comey also assured Congress that the FBI "will never stop" investigating the case until those responsible are brought to justice.
Here's one reason Comey had to give those reassurances to Congress: there are a range of people who believe they already know how the Benghazi story will end. They are, for the most part, conspiracy theorists (including some in Congress) who are nearly certain that Obama and his administration have engaged in a cover-up over the attacks. The president was either complicit in or at fault for the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, the argument goes, and an investigation is needed to get to the bottom of everything. It's a good but unsubstantiated story, as we've explained, and one that CBS recently fell for in a now-corrected 60 Minutes piece that connected the dots without checking its work. But as clear as the line might be between fact and political anticipation over the Benghazi investigation's outcome, it is one that needed to be contended with, again and again.
On Thursday, Comey announced that the FBI was now fine with Congress's plan to question Benghazi witnesses. Those witnesses have only spoken to the FBI about what they saw since the attacks. That disconnect, along with the now discredited CBS report on the attacks, prompted Senator Lindsey Graham to vow to block all of Obama's nominations until Congress was allowed to question the witnesses.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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