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Overview:

The Rewards for Justice program (RFJ) authorizes the secretary of state to offer money for credible information that can be used to capture or kill international terrorists. The program may also provide protection and relocation services for the informant and his or her family.

 
Despite captures and killings reportedly undertaken as a result of intelligence tips, Rewards for Justice has detractors. Some say the program promotes reckless bounty hunting. A few have also voiced concerns about the credibility of received tips, while others wonder if any amount of money can overcome deep-seated ethnic loyalties in places like Afghanistan. Still others question the recent U.S. preference for killing militant-Islamic suspects using precision-guided bombs, pointing out that bombings might hurt counter-insurgency efforts, which are based on gaining trust and cooperation, in Muslim countries. Indeed, critics frequently assail ads and other promotional materials for lacking cultural sensitivity. On the other hand, coaxing people with money to turn in their peers has been a tactic used since antiquity. Many see this particular program as a way of fighting terrorism with capitalism, and an enthusiastic fundraising effort developed around it for a time.
 
more
History:

Rewards for Justice was created in 1984 and has been a division in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security ever since. The program was originally focused on terrorists. In the 1990s, however, the State Department started soliciting information on war crimes suspects, including individuals associated with genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. U.S. officials have also sought figures connected to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.
 
The 2001 U.S. Patriot Act increased the program’s funding, allowing the secretary of state to authorize bigger bounties, in reaction to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Today, most bounties are for far less than $5 million. However, informants who help apprehend top al-Qaida figures may receive as much as $25 million. According to the Rewards for Justice Web site, the program has paid some $77 million to more than 50 people since its inception.
 
Rewards for Justice has been linked - sometimes tenuously - to many captures and killings over the years. Officials admitted awarding $2 million to an informant for helping capture Ramzi Yousef, the prime mover behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. However, the man said he had been unaware of the reward and was motivated by fear for his own safety. Afghans who wanted a $2 million bounty reportedly handed over Pakistani Mir Amal Kansi, who was later convicted and executed for shooting to death two CIA officers outside the agency’s headquarters on Jan. 25, 1993. The Associated Press reported in February 2008 that some $10 million in rewards were paid to four people in the Philippines, who informed on two men associated with the Abu Sayyaf militant Islamist group. Also in 2008, CIA operatives killed senior al-Qaida figure Abu Laith al-Libi in Pakistan after being tipped off on his whereabouts.
 
Government press releases frequently tout RFJ’s role in killing Uday and Qusay Hussein in Iraq. Indeed, the U.S. State Department has claimed rather grandiosely that its paid-informant program “is one of the most valuable U.S. government assets in the fight against international terrorism.”
 
For a time, there was a private effort underway to raise money for the program called the Rewards for Justice Fund. The fund’s creators lobbied state legislatures to create premium license plates, the proceeds of which would go to RFJ. At least six states created the plates, and the group claimed to have raised $1.5 million before shutting down in January 2008. States are under no obligation to continue donating license-plate proceeds in the future.
 
Rewards for Justice Program has History of Success (by David Anthony Denny, Militaryinfo)

 

more
What it Does:

The program’s Web site, containing links to profiles of wanted terrorists, is available in 25 languages. Tipsters almost always remain anonymous.

Reward not paid: authorities regularly offer financial incentives for tips that lead to a crime being solved, but criminologists claim large payouts are rare

(by Timothy W. Maier, Insight on the News)

 

more
Controversies:

Mis-Marketing the U.S. Brand
Bush administration official Charlotte Beers, former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, started a one and a half-year stint as the saleswoman for the United States only three weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. An advertising giant credited with successfully promoting Uncle Ben’s rice, Beers was charged with improving the U.S. “brand” abroad - particularly in the Arab world.
 
Her tenure, which included a publicity campaign for the RFJ program, was bumpy. Both left-leaning groups and, oddly enough, figures inside the Bush administration, criticized her for creating ads that relied upon platitudes and simplistic cultural stereotypes. Some ads, including one reportedly featuring a woman running in shorts, displayed remarkable ignorance of Muslim culture. Beers resigned in March 2003.
Effort to Promote U.S. Falls Short, Critics Say (by Christopher Marquis, New York Times)
Report lists public diplomacy failures (by Carl Weiser, USA Today)
Selling America (NPR On the Media)
 
Overlooked Tipsters
Two flight instructors felt cheated when a third was selected by the State Department to receive a $5 million reward.
Moussaoui tipster gets $5 million; two overlooked (by Greg Gordon and Mary Lynn Smith, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Moussaoui Tipster Gets $5 Million (by Matthew Lee and Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press)
Feds to review reward to 9/11 tipster (by Frederic J. Frommer, USA Today)
 
Problems in the Philippines
Rewards may prompt people in impoverished areas to report innocent neighbors so they can get reward money. In one instance in the Philippines, U.S. soldiers passed out handbooks containing pictures of wanted terrorism suspects. However, one of the pictures was of a religious leader who was unaffiliated with any terrorist group. Filipino insurgents also claim that their country’s government is perverting justice by labeling them terrorists and offering money in a scheme patterned after the U.S. program.
U.S. Reward Money Gives Rise to Modern-Day Hunters (by Alexander Martin Remollino, Bulatlat)
Moro Human Rights Violations Report 2007 (by Roger M. Balanza, Durian Post)
 
Protecting Osama bin Laden
There have been questions about the effectiveness of monetary rewards in areas where people possess strong ethnic loyalties. Despite offering a sizeable reward, U.S. authorities have been unable to locate al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, for example.
U.S. takes to the airwaves in hunt for Bin Laden (by Declan Walsh, The Guardian)
Bin Laden shielded by cult status in Pakistan (by Christina Lamb, The Telgraph)
 
Weaseling out of Payouts
The first article below claims that the government regularly finds ways to weasel out of paying bounties. The second offers additional background on the use of bounties.
 
In at least one case, offering an RFJ cash reward had an ironic consequence: It promoted lawlessness by an overzealous bounty hunter.
 
Bounty Hunter Arrested

Texas man indicted over bin Laden bounty hunt: Charges include trying to smuggle ammunition, cash into Syria

(Associated Press)

 

more
Debate:

For - from the Right
Trampling Terrorists: A how-to guide (by Deroy Murdock, National Review)
Terror war jackpot (by Oliver North, Washington Times)
 
Against - from the Left

Bush’s Terrorism Tip Program Unravels

(by Deep Harm, Daily Kos)

 

more

Comments

WILFRED NUNEZ 3 years ago
are yyou looking for a yaser abdel said wanted for perscution of chirtian in tx and new yory he from egypt let me know 212354-7900

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Founded: 1984
Annual Budget: $6 million
Employees:
Rewards for Justice
Boswell, Eric
Previous Assistant Secretary
Born in Naples, Italy, Eric Boswell served in the Army from 1968 to 1969 and then earned a BA degree from Stanford University in 1970. He entered the Foreign Service in 1972. He served at the U.S. consulate in Quebec (1977-1980), as personnel officer for Near East assignments (1980-1983), Deputy Executive Director of the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs (1983-1985), administrative counselor at the U.S. embassy in Amman, Jordan (1985-1987), administrative minister-counselor at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, Canada (1987-1990) and as Executive Director of the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs (1990-1992). In September 1992, President George H.W. Bush nominated Boswell be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, a position he maintained until 1998. Between 1998 and 2005, Boswell served as Director of Administration for the United Nations’ Pan American Health Organization. From 2005 until July 2008, he was the Assistant Deputy Director for Security in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. On July 7, 2008, Boswell was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, a position he had previously held from 1996 to 1998, when he retired from the Foreign Service. Boswell is also the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions.
 
 
 
more
Starr, Gregory
Previous Assistant Secretary
Born in New York, Gregory B. Starr has had a career with the U.S. State Department spanning nearly three decades. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in forensic science, both from George Washington University.
 
Starr started at the State Department in June 1980, when he joined up as a special agent. He has held regional security officer positions in Kinshasa, Zaire; Tunis, Tunisia and Dakar, Senegal, and has been assigned to the secretary of state’s detail, technical security operations and the New York Field Office.
 
Between 1995 and 1997, he worked as division chief for worldwide local guard and residential security programs. He then began a three-year stint as senior regional security officer at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.
 
In 2000, Starr became director of the Office of Physical Security Programs, staying on for four years. In July 2004, he began a nearly three-year period of service as deputy assistant secretary of state for countermeasures. He was responsible for devising security policy in that role.
 
In April 2007, Starr was named principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and director of the bureau’s Diplomatic Security Service. Seven months later, he started serving as acting assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security.
Accord Tightens Control of Security Contractors in Iraq (by Eric Schmitt and Paul von Zielbauer, New York Times)
 
more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

The Rewards for Justice program (RFJ) authorizes the secretary of state to offer money for credible information that can be used to capture or kill international terrorists. The program may also provide protection and relocation services for the informant and his or her family.

 
Despite captures and killings reportedly undertaken as a result of intelligence tips, Rewards for Justice has detractors. Some say the program promotes reckless bounty hunting. A few have also voiced concerns about the credibility of received tips, while others wonder if any amount of money can overcome deep-seated ethnic loyalties in places like Afghanistan. Still others question the recent U.S. preference for killing militant-Islamic suspects using precision-guided bombs, pointing out that bombings might hurt counter-insurgency efforts, which are based on gaining trust and cooperation, in Muslim countries. Indeed, critics frequently assail ads and other promotional materials for lacking cultural sensitivity. On the other hand, coaxing people with money to turn in their peers has been a tactic used since antiquity. Many see this particular program as a way of fighting terrorism with capitalism, and an enthusiastic fundraising effort developed around it for a time.
 
more
History:

Rewards for Justice was created in 1984 and has been a division in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security ever since. The program was originally focused on terrorists. In the 1990s, however, the State Department started soliciting information on war crimes suspects, including individuals associated with genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. U.S. officials have also sought figures connected to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.
 
The 2001 U.S. Patriot Act increased the program’s funding, allowing the secretary of state to authorize bigger bounties, in reaction to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Today, most bounties are for far less than $5 million. However, informants who help apprehend top al-Qaida figures may receive as much as $25 million. According to the Rewards for Justice Web site, the program has paid some $77 million to more than 50 people since its inception.
 
Rewards for Justice has been linked - sometimes tenuously - to many captures and killings over the years. Officials admitted awarding $2 million to an informant for helping capture Ramzi Yousef, the prime mover behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. However, the man said he had been unaware of the reward and was motivated by fear for his own safety. Afghans who wanted a $2 million bounty reportedly handed over Pakistani Mir Amal Kansi, who was later convicted and executed for shooting to death two CIA officers outside the agency’s headquarters on Jan. 25, 1993. The Associated Press reported in February 2008 that some $10 million in rewards were paid to four people in the Philippines, who informed on two men associated with the Abu Sayyaf militant Islamist group. Also in 2008, CIA operatives killed senior al-Qaida figure Abu Laith al-Libi in Pakistan after being tipped off on his whereabouts.
 
Government press releases frequently tout RFJ’s role in killing Uday and Qusay Hussein in Iraq. Indeed, the U.S. State Department has claimed rather grandiosely that its paid-informant program “is one of the most valuable U.S. government assets in the fight against international terrorism.”
 
For a time, there was a private effort underway to raise money for the program called the Rewards for Justice Fund. The fund’s creators lobbied state legislatures to create premium license plates, the proceeds of which would go to RFJ. At least six states created the plates, and the group claimed to have raised $1.5 million before shutting down in January 2008. States are under no obligation to continue donating license-plate proceeds in the future.
 
Rewards for Justice Program has History of Success (by David Anthony Denny, Militaryinfo)

 

more
What it Does:

The program’s Web site, containing links to profiles of wanted terrorists, is available in 25 languages. Tipsters almost always remain anonymous.

Reward not paid: authorities regularly offer financial incentives for tips that lead to a crime being solved, but criminologists claim large payouts are rare

(by Timothy W. Maier, Insight on the News)

 

more
Controversies:

Mis-Marketing the U.S. Brand
Bush administration official Charlotte Beers, former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, started a one and a half-year stint as the saleswoman for the United States only three weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. An advertising giant credited with successfully promoting Uncle Ben’s rice, Beers was charged with improving the U.S. “brand” abroad - particularly in the Arab world.
 
Her tenure, which included a publicity campaign for the RFJ program, was bumpy. Both left-leaning groups and, oddly enough, figures inside the Bush administration, criticized her for creating ads that relied upon platitudes and simplistic cultural stereotypes. Some ads, including one reportedly featuring a woman running in shorts, displayed remarkable ignorance of Muslim culture. Beers resigned in March 2003.
Effort to Promote U.S. Falls Short, Critics Say (by Christopher Marquis, New York Times)
Report lists public diplomacy failures (by Carl Weiser, USA Today)
Selling America (NPR On the Media)
 
Overlooked Tipsters
Two flight instructors felt cheated when a third was selected by the State Department to receive a $5 million reward.
Moussaoui tipster gets $5 million; two overlooked (by Greg Gordon and Mary Lynn Smith, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Moussaoui Tipster Gets $5 Million (by Matthew Lee and Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press)
Feds to review reward to 9/11 tipster (by Frederic J. Frommer, USA Today)
 
Problems in the Philippines
Rewards may prompt people in impoverished areas to report innocent neighbors so they can get reward money. In one instance in the Philippines, U.S. soldiers passed out handbooks containing pictures of wanted terrorism suspects. However, one of the pictures was of a religious leader who was unaffiliated with any terrorist group. Filipino insurgents also claim that their country’s government is perverting justice by labeling them terrorists and offering money in a scheme patterned after the U.S. program.
U.S. Reward Money Gives Rise to Modern-Day Hunters (by Alexander Martin Remollino, Bulatlat)
Moro Human Rights Violations Report 2007 (by Roger M. Balanza, Durian Post)
 
Protecting Osama bin Laden
There have been questions about the effectiveness of monetary rewards in areas where people possess strong ethnic loyalties. Despite offering a sizeable reward, U.S. authorities have been unable to locate al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, for example.
U.S. takes to the airwaves in hunt for Bin Laden (by Declan Walsh, The Guardian)
Bin Laden shielded by cult status in Pakistan (by Christina Lamb, The Telgraph)
 
Weaseling out of Payouts
The first article below claims that the government regularly finds ways to weasel out of paying bounties. The second offers additional background on the use of bounties.
 
In at least one case, offering an RFJ cash reward had an ironic consequence: It promoted lawlessness by an overzealous bounty hunter.
 
Bounty Hunter Arrested

Texas man indicted over bin Laden bounty hunt: Charges include trying to smuggle ammunition, cash into Syria

(Associated Press)

 

more
Debate:

For - from the Right
Trampling Terrorists: A how-to guide (by Deroy Murdock, National Review)
Terror war jackpot (by Oliver North, Washington Times)
 
Against - from the Left

Bush’s Terrorism Tip Program Unravels

(by Deep Harm, Daily Kos)

 

more

Comments

WILFRED NUNEZ 3 years ago
are yyou looking for a yaser abdel said wanted for perscution of chirtian in tx and new yory he from egypt let me know 212354-7900

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 1984
Annual Budget: $6 million
Employees:
Rewards for Justice
Boswell, Eric
Previous Assistant Secretary
Born in Naples, Italy, Eric Boswell served in the Army from 1968 to 1969 and then earned a BA degree from Stanford University in 1970. He entered the Foreign Service in 1972. He served at the U.S. consulate in Quebec (1977-1980), as personnel officer for Near East assignments (1980-1983), Deputy Executive Director of the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs (1983-1985), administrative counselor at the U.S. embassy in Amman, Jordan (1985-1987), administrative minister-counselor at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, Canada (1987-1990) and as Executive Director of the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs (1990-1992). In September 1992, President George H.W. Bush nominated Boswell be Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, a position he maintained until 1998. Between 1998 and 2005, Boswell served as Director of Administration for the United Nations’ Pan American Health Organization. From 2005 until July 2008, he was the Assistant Deputy Director for Security in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. On July 7, 2008, Boswell was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, a position he had previously held from 1996 to 1998, when he retired from the Foreign Service. Boswell is also the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions.
 
 
 
more
Starr, Gregory
Previous Assistant Secretary
Born in New York, Gregory B. Starr has had a career with the U.S. State Department spanning nearly three decades. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in forensic science, both from George Washington University.
 
Starr started at the State Department in June 1980, when he joined up as a special agent. He has held regional security officer positions in Kinshasa, Zaire; Tunis, Tunisia and Dakar, Senegal, and has been assigned to the secretary of state’s detail, technical security operations and the New York Field Office.
 
Between 1995 and 1997, he worked as division chief for worldwide local guard and residential security programs. He then began a three-year stint as senior regional security officer at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.
 
In 2000, Starr became director of the Office of Physical Security Programs, staying on for four years. In July 2004, he began a nearly three-year period of service as deputy assistant secretary of state for countermeasures. He was responsible for devising security policy in that role.
 
In April 2007, Starr was named principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and director of the bureau’s Diplomatic Security Service. Seven months later, he started serving as acting assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security.
Accord Tightens Control of Security Contractors in Iraq (by Eric Schmitt and Paul von Zielbauer, New York Times)
 
more