Frequently Asked Questions
RFJ, the U.S. Department of State's Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program, was established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, Public Law 98-533 (codified at 22 U.S.C. § 2708). Administered by the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, RFJ's goal is to bring international terrorists to justice and prevent acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property. Under this program, the Secretary of State may authorize rewards for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits, or attempts international terrorist acts against U.S. persons or property, that prevents such acts from occurring in the first place, that leads to the location of a key terrorist leader, or that disrupts terrorism financing.
RFJ maintains a list of current reward offers on its website: www.rewardsforjustice.net. Most RFJ reward offers are for up to $5 million. However, reward offers can range from under $1 million to up to $25 million. In addition, RFJ can also pay rewards in cases where there is no prior reward offer, in appropriate circumstances.
Since its inception, RFJ has paid more than $125 million to over 80 individuals for information that prevented international terrorist attacks or helped bring to justice those involved in prior acts.
In connection with the RFJ program, sources have provided information that has helped prevent or favorably resolve acts of international terrorism against U.S. interests and bring to justice some of the world's most notorious terrorists. These efforts have saved countless innocent lives.
In Iraq, for example, just 18 days after the announcement of reward offers for Uday and Qusay Hussein, a source came forward and provided information regarding their location. Another well-publicized success is the capture of Ramzi Yousef, one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, who was located in 1995 as the result of the information provided by a source in response to an RFJ reward offer.
In addition to the RFJ website, we use posters, matchbooks, paid advertisements on the radio and newspapers, the Internet, and any other appropriate avenue to assist in bringing to justice those responsible for terrorist attacks against the United States.
A key aspect of this program is that we ensure that responses to our reward campaigns are kept strictly confidential. Even more importantly, we do not disclose the names of individuals who receive a reward payment, and usually do not even publicly disclose that a reward has been paid. In certain high-profile cases, we will announce the payment of a reward, but not the information provided.
The largest payment to date was $30 million paid to one individual who provided information that led to Uday and Qusay Hussein.
There have been four public RFJ reward ceremonies in the Philippines. The most recent one occurred on June 7, 2007, with total rewards at that ceremony amounting to $10 million. This reward payment is the largest RFJ payment in the Philippines since the program began.
As mentioned, RFJ does occasionally make limited announcements about high-profile reward payments. We also provide a classified report to Congress after a payment has been made.
Anyone who provides actionable information that will either help us prevent or favorably resolve acts of international terrorism against the U.S. anywhere in the world may potentially be eligible for a reward.
If, for example, a terrorist involved in either the planning or execution of an attack against U.S. persons and/or property is arrested or convicted as a result of information provided by a source, that source may be eligible for a reward.
In addition, anyone with information regarding the identification or location of a key leader in an international terrorist organization may be eligible for a reward. Rewards may also be paid for information about an individual or organization that is trafficking drugs to finance acts of international terrorism or to raise money to sustain or support a terrorist organization.
However, under the law that governs the program, U.S., state, local, and foreign government employees are generally not eligible for a reward if they provide information obtained in the performance of their official duties.
As discussed above, confidentiality is a cornerstone of the RFJ program. RFJ keeps strictly confidential the identity of anyone who provides information in response to a reward offer and/or who receives a reward payment. In addition, relocation may be available for a source and his/her family, but these matters would have to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Each reward nomination is considered on a case-by-case basis. The process for paying a reward is as follows:
Either a U.S. investigating agency, such as the Department of Defense or the FBI, or a U.S. embassy abroad, must first nominate a person for a reward. An interagency committee then carefully evaluates the information. If the Interagency Rewards Committee believes an individual is eligible for a reward, it recommends that the Secretary of State approve a reward.
The recommendation of the Committee, however, is not binding. The Secretary of State has complete discretion over whether or not to authorize a given reward, and can change the amount of the reward, within the terms of the law.
If there is a federal criminal jurisdiction in the matter, the Secretary requests the concurrence of the Attorney General before paying the reward.
Reward payment amounts are based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the threat posed by a given terrorist, the severity of the danger or injury to U.S. persons or property, the value of the information provided, the risk faced by a source and his/her family, and the degree of a source's cooperation in an investigation or trial.
Yes, the Rewards for Justice program has removed various suspects from its list over the years, including Baitullah Mehsud, Bali bomber Dulmatin, Usama bin Ladin, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, and Fazul Abdullah Mohammed. Suspects may be removed from the RFJ list for a variety of reasons, including when they are taken into custody by law enforcement or security forces, or are confirmed dead by an official authoritative source.
The Rewards for Justice Fund was a non-governmental, non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose sole affiliation with the U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice program was for the purpose of raising and providing private contributions to the U.S. Department of State for its use in the identification and apprehension of terrorists operating within the United States and abroad. The Rewards for Justice Fund was created and administered by a group of private American citizens. The group approached the U.S. Department of State shortly after the September 11 attacks and requested approval to raise money through donations from the general public to support RFJ. We reviewed this proposal and supported the efforts of the Rewards for Justice Fund. After providing assistance in the years after September 11, the Fund was disbanded in August 2008.
We strongly discourage bounty hunters and other non-government individuals from pursuing the capture of terrorists; instead, RFJ provides rewards for information that will enable appropriate government authorities to locate and apprehend such individuals.
People with information should contact the Regional Security Office at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, the FBI, or use the following contact information:
Mailing address: RFJ, Washington D.C. 20522-0303, USA Toll-free number: 1-800-US-REWARDS Email: RFJ@state.gov
Unless a copyright is indicated, information on this Web site is in the public domain and may be reproduced, published or otherwise used without RFJ's permission. We request that RFJ be cited as the source of the information and that any photo credits or bylines be similarly credited to the photographer or author or RFJ, as appropriate.
If a copyright is indicated on a photo, graphic, or any other material, permission to copy these materials must be obtained from the original source. In addition, you should be aware that a criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. 713, prohibits use of the Great Seal of the United States under certain circumstances outlined in that section; therefore, we recommend that you consult with counsel before using the Great Seal in any context.