Glen Doherty family gets death benefit years after Benghazi

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BOSTON – At long last, the family of Glen Doherty, a former U.S. Navy SEAL from Winchester who died during the September 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, will receive a $400,000 government death benefit they sought for years.

“My son, Glen, proudly served our country as a Navy SEAL and as a security contractor to the U.S. government,” Barbara Doherty, Glen’s mother, said in a statement posted on the Fox News website. “More than three and a half years after the Benghazi attack which took his life, our family has finally received the symbolic justice all families of such American heroes deserve.”

Massachusetts lawmakers including U.S. Rep Stephen Lynch and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey praised the family’s perseverance.

“Losing a son or brother in war is the most painful sacrifice that can be made by an American family,” Lynch (D-South Boston) said in a statement posted on his website. “Families of American heroes should not also have to fight through a bureaucratic process to receive those benefits that such heroism has earned.”

“Barbara Doherty, Kate Quigley, and the entire Doherty family have waited more than three and a half years to receive the protections and benefits that their son, Glen Doherty, intended them to receive in the event of his death in the line of duty and in the service of our country,” said Lynch, who first proposed legislation to provide benefits to the Doherty family in 2014. “I thank the Doherty’s for their strength, patience, and grace throughout this process and I commend them for their perseverance on behalf of other affected CIA families.”

Previously, the benefit to a contractor in Doherty’s circumstances – single and with no dependents – was limited to a $3,000 payment to cover funeral expenses, Lynch said.

Markey also praised the decision to deliver the benefit to Doherty’s family. Last year, he joined the effort to obtain the payment by introducing legislation in the Senate that would provide compensation to families of Americans killed in the line of duty while working under contract to the Central Intelligence Agency.

“We will never forget the sacrifice Glen Doherty made defending our nation, and this benefit for the Doherty family honors that courage and service,” Markey, a Malden Democrat, said in a statement. “It is only right that the Doherty family and all the families who’ve lost loved ones overseas are fully compensated and honored for their heroism.”

“We are so grateful for the grace, strength and perseverance of the Doherty family for the past three and a half years as they sought this justice for their fallen son,” Markey said. “I thank the CIA for honoring Glen Doherty, who served our nation so bravely, with the benefits that his family deserves.”

Markey said the payment would be made as a lump sum.

In the years following Doherty’s killing, his mother and his family sued the State Department and the CIA under a claim that the compound her son had tried to protect during the terrorist siege lacked adequate security.

In a September interview, Barbara Doherty referred to the Defense Base Act of 1941, a law that requires overseas federal contractors to buy insurance but doesn’t provide for death benefits to survivors of unmarried personnel.

On Wednesday in her statement, the mother said the new policy “will pay families of CIA employees and contractors killed overseas in the War on Terror a death benefit regardless of whether the individual killed was married or had dependent children. The Doherty family fought for this benefit to ensure that the sacrifice made by others in their situation would be recognized.”

Markey, like Lynch, filed legislation to amend the law to include families or designated beneficiaries of contractors like Doherty, who died as a result of a “war risk hazard” or an “act of terrorism.”

Doherty’s mother has said CIA officials informed her family that her son was the only person involved in this particular death benefits situation.

“That was a lie,” she said at the time of the September interview. “We now know of 80 other families.”

Lynch noted that the CIA approved benefits for Americans killed in the line of duty overseas since 1983, including Doherty, calling it an “administrative solution” to the issue. The Associated Press reported that the deaths had to be caused by acts of terrorism and reflected “a statutory change enacted last December.” The news service reported it is retroactive to April 18, 1983, when a suicide bomber attacked the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

The bills proposed by Markey and Lynch, according to congressional records still remain in committee, where they arrived in December.

Lynch said he intends to continue pressing for passage of his bill, “to ensure that all families of contractors without dependents do not face a similar difficult benefits situation in the future.”

Contact Evan Lips at [email protected] or on Twitter at @evanmlips.