|SLUG: 2-270506 US Terror Rewards (L)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
INTRO: The United States is expanding a 15-year-old program under which it has offered cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of international terrorists. The emphasis of the new element of the program is on the prevention of acts of terror. V-O-A correspondent David Gollust has details.
TEXT: The State Department says it will offer rewards of up to five-million dollars for advance information that would head off attacks against U-S officials and facilities around the world.
The rewards - to be promoted by a U-S-sponsored international advertising campaign - are an expansion of an existing rewards program that has until now focused mainly on the apprehension of suspects in past terrorist attacks.
Television announcements and posters will be distributed in eight languages, including Arabic and Urdu, advising of the rewards, which can be claimed by contacting security officers at U-S overseas diplomatic posts or by reaching the department through an Internet Web site (eds: www.dssrewards.net), or by phone or mail.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says more than six-million dollars have been paid out since 1984 for information that has put about 20 terrorists in prison. He says the admittedly-modest rewards program is only one part of a coordinated anti-terrorist strategy.
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We certainly don't just rely on putting a stack of money on the table and waiting for terrorists to walk in, or people with information to walk in. We have a very active program - U-N sanctions, U-N pressures, U-S law enforcement activity, cooperation with other governments against terrorism. So this is not the only way we seek to bring people to justice. But it's a useful and important element.
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The United States has a standing offer of up to five-million dollars for information leading to the capture of alleged terrorist ringleader Osama Bin Laden.
The Saudi exile, who U-S officials say is being sheltered by the Taleban movement in Afghanistan, is held responsible for a series of attacks, including the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Administration officials told Congress this week it is mounting an all-out campaign to isolate the Taleban - which controls most of Afghanistan - because of its protection of Mr. Bin Laden and at least ten other suspected terrorists.
Central to that is an effort in the U-N Security Council by the United States and Russia to toughen sanctions against the group, including a comprehensive weapons embargo, and a ban on sales of chemicals used to refine Afghan opium into heroin. (Signed)