The State Department is offering an up-to-$10 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual involved in the December 2012 terror attack on an American facility in Benghazi, Libya, the department disclosed on Friday.
The reward, part of the department's "Rewards for Justice" program, has been in effect since January of this year.
The department's decision to publicize the reward, which was previously shrouded in privacy due to concerns that its disclosure might jeopardize efforts to apprehend those responsible for the attack, came after lawmakers fretted that the State Department was not using every available tool to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"Due to security issues and sensitivities surrounding the investigation, the event-specific reward offer has not been publicly advertised on the [Rewards for Justice] website," a statement from the State Department explained. "The confirmation of an award offer was included today in the Department's response to an October 30, 2013 letter to Secretary Kerry from House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and eighty-two additional members of Congress."
A State Department official familiar with the matter tells CBS News the reward is for information leading to an arrest - not for dead bodies. It applies to any individual linked to Benghazi and not just those cited on the FBI website seeking information about the perpetrators.
The $10 million benchmark is the second highest level of reward offered by the program.
On September 11, 2012, then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were slain when an armed mob attacked a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya. Despite U.S. attempts to investigate and prosecute those responsible, the perpetrators remain at large.
CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate has described the difficulty inherent in U.S. efforts to identify those responsible and stage a raid to apprehend them. "There are risks to any of these operations. It creates a lot of tension internally, because you are, in some ways, going after the sovereignty of the country," he said.
Moreover, he added, "There's a question as to whether or not we've got the complete picture on who was responsible for Benghazi."
"You want to go in in a way that not only is successful, but has maximum impact, and to my mind, that means grabbing as many of the perpetrators as possible, or at least knowing who you're going after in a definitive way," he explained. "I'm not sure we're there yet in terms of the investigation, and that may be a reason why you haven't seen further action in Benghazi."