Frequently Asked Questions
RFJ is an interagency rewards program established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, Public Law 98-533 (codified at 22 U.S.C. § 2708) and administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
RFJ’s mission is to generate information that helps protect U.S. national security.
Under its 1984 statutory authorities, RFJ’s original mission was to offer rewards for information that:
- Leads to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits, aids, or attempts international terrorist acts against U.S. persons or property
- Prevents such acts from occurring in the first place
- Leads to the identification or location of a key terrorist leader
- Disrupts terrorism financing
In 2017, Congress amended RFJ’s statutory authority to include offering rewards for information that leads to:
- The disruption of financial mechanisms of persons engaged in certain activities supporting the North Korean regime
- The identification or location of any individual who, acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, aids or abets a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (committing unauthorized computer intrusions and other forms of fraud related to computers)
Reward offers can range from less than $1 million up to $25 million.
RFJ can pay rewards in cases where there is no prior reward offer.
Since its inception, RFJ has paid in excess of $200 million to more than 100 individuals who provided useful information that helped to protect U.S. national security.
These efforts have saved countless innocent lives.
In addition to the RFJ website, we use in-language social media platforms, posters, matchbooks, paid advertisements on the radio and newspapers, the Internet, and any other appropriate avenue to communicate with individuals who may have relevant information to offer.
Confidentiality is a key aspect of the RFJ program. We do not publicly disclose specific information submitted in response to our reward offers or 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 may announce the payment of a reward, but not the information provided or the name of the source who submitted it.
In February 1995, Ramzi Yousef, one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, was located and arrested in Pakistan as the result of the information provided by a source who responded to an RFJ reward offer.
RFJ also has paid multiple rewards to individuals at four separate public reward payment ceremonies in the Philippines. On June 7, 2007, at a public reward ceremony, RFJ paid a total of $10 million. This reward payment is the largest RFJ payment in the Philippines since the program began.
RFJ paid a $3 million reward to an individual who provided information that led to the arrest and conviction of terrorist leader Ahmed Abu Khattalah, mastermind of the 2012 attack on the U.S. temporary mission facility and annex in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador.
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.
Individuals may be eligible for a reward if they provide information that:
- Helps prevent or favorably resolve acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property anywhere in the world.
- Leads to the identification or location of a key leader in a foreign terrorist organization.
- Disrupts financial mechanisms of individuals or entities engaged in certain activities supporting the North Korean regime.
- Leads to the identification or location of any individual who, while acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, aids or abets a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Government officials are generally ineligible for a reward unless they provide information outside the performance of their official duties.
Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the RFJ program. RFJ keeps strictly confidential the identity of sources who provide information and of individuals who receive a reward payment. In addition, relocation may be available on a case-by-case basis for a source and his/her family.
Payment of an RFJ reward is a deliberative process:
- 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. Individuals claiming to have provided information may not self-nominate for a reward payment.
- Upon a legal review of eligibility, an interagency committee then carefully evaluates the information provided by the nominating agency. After deliberation on the merits of the nomination, the committee makes a recommendation to the Secretary of State.
- The recommendation of the committee, however, is not binding. The Secretary of State has complete discretion over whether or not to authorize any given reward, and can change the amount of the reward, within the terms of the law.
- Before paying a reward in a matter over which there is federal criminal jurisdiction, the Attorney General must concur with the Secretary.
- A nomination does not guarantee approval for a payment. A payment determination by the Secretary is final and conclusive and not subject to judicial review.
Reward payment amounts are based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: the value of the information provided; the level of threat mitigated by the information received; the severity of danger or injury to U.S. persons or property presented by the threat; the risk faced by a source and his/her family; and the degree of a source’s cooperation. No payments are made in exchange for testimony.
A payment to a source may be any amount up to the total dollar amount of an advertised reward offer.
Yes, Rewards for Justice has removed various suspects from its list over the years, including al-Qa’ida leader Usama bin Ladin and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
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, are confirmed dead, or otherwise declared by an official source to no longer present a threat.
We strongly discourage bounty hunters and other non-government individuals from pursuing the capture of terrorists or other wanted persons; instead, RFJ provides rewards for information that will enable appropriate government authorities to locate and apprehend such individuals.
Individuals with information should text it to RFJ via WhatsApp, Telegram, or Signal at (202) 702-7843.
Individuals may also submit their information by contacting the Regional Security Office at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or the nearest FBI office.
Unless a copyright is indicated, information on this website 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.