- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2002

The United States yesterday offered up to $5 million to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the kidnappers and killers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

The State Department, which repeated its "outrage" over the journalist's "senseless murder," posted the reward offer on the Web site of its Rewards for Justice program. It also said it would advertise the offer in Pakistan, where Mr. Pearl was killed, "in the near future."

"We are announcing a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of those responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.

He said that up to $5 million "is the standard amount we are able to offer under the law for information relating to past or future attacks against Americans."

But "the fact that we are advertising the case with the availability of this money for Danny Pearl's murderers, and people involved in that murder, reflects the concern we have about this particular case," Mr. Boucher said.

He noted that the reward was "another tool of supporting" the ongoing investigation in Pakistan and not a reflection of U.S. frustration with the way the local authorities were handling the case.

Pakistan yesterday tightened security at a Karachi jail where Ahmed Omar Saeed, the suspected mastermind in the kidnapping, was being held. It took the action after receiving threats to blow up the building if Saeed was handed over to the United States for trial.

Pakistan has agreed in principle to hand over the Islamic militant to the United States but first wants to complete its own investigation into the case.

Saeed has been of little help to the investigation, and Pakistani officials have said they still are searching for at least four other key suspects.

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