The family of a CIA contractor killed in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya will receive $400,000 after the agency expanded survivor benefits for employees and contractors killed in the line of duty overseas in acts of terrorism.
Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL who was working for the CIA's Global Response staff in Libya at the time of Benghazi, held a standard federal insurance policy that pays a survivor benefit only to spouses and dependents. Doherty, 42, was divorced and had no children, rendering his family ineligible for compensation under the 1941 Defense Base Act, which still requires all overseas contractors including CIA employees to carry disability and life insurance.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the CIA informed lawyers for Doherty's mother, Barbara, Wednesday that the agency's policy change had been finalized.
Barbara Doherty told WFXT that she was relieved that the expanded benefit had approved. She also called on Congress to repeal the Defense Base Act.
"It gives me solace that the CIA has done the right thing,” Doherty said. “Now it’s up to Congress to see if they can step up to the plate."
Legislation introduced last year by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. and Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., would expand the death benefit to include families of all defense employees killed in terror attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, even if they don't have spouses or dependents.
"It is entirely disrespectful to make [the families] fight through a long bureaucratic process to get the benefits that that heroism has earned," Lynch told WFXT.
The CIA policy change is retroactive to April 18, 1983, the date a suicide attacker crashed a truck into the front of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans, some of whom were CIA officers.
"It wasn’t about the money, at all," Doherty told WFXT. “It was a fight for [all families], because they didn’t have a voice and we did …that’s what kept us going on, knowing that they would eventually be recognize."
"I am glad the [CIA] made this decision so the Doherty family and others who have lost loved ones in service to and sacrifice for our country will finally receive the recognition and honor they deserve," Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said in a statement.
Doherty's family filed a $1 million damages claim against the CIA and the State Department in September 2014. The Union-Tribune reported that the family will drop all claims against the federal government in the wake of the expanded death benefit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.