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Benghazi prompts CIA to look at expanding survivor benefits

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2012, file photo photo, Barbara Doherty, mother of slain former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, is escorted from the Church of St. Eulalia in Winchester, Mass., after his funeral. The family of a CIA operative killed in the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Libya is in talks with the spy agency to expand survivor benefits for relatives of contractors who die in the line of duty. The negotiations are aimed in part at resolving a lawsuit against the CIA and the State Department brought by the mother of Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL who died in a mortar attack while defending the agency's building as a CIA contractor. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The family of a CIA operative killed in the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Libya is in talks with the spy agency to expand survivor benefits for relatives of contractors who die in the line of duty.

The negotiations are aimed in part at resolving a lawsuit against the CIA and the State Department brought by the mother of Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor who died in a mortar attack while defending the agency’s building. He was one of four Americans killed in Benghazi, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, after militants stormed a U.S. diplomatic post on the night of Sept. 11, 2012.

Doherty, 42, was divorced and had no children. His parents were not entitled to annual payments under a standard federal insurance policy he held that pays a survivor benefit only to spouses and dependents.

Tyrone Woods, the other CIA contractor who died in the mortar attack, was married with a young child, and he had two children from a previous marriage.

“I think there’s a recognition of the unfairness of this policy and the need to update the policy,” said Amy Carnavale, a government affairs adviser for K&L Gates, a law firm representing the Doherty family. “We continue to have cooperative conversations” with the CIA.

The CIA declined to comment.

Under a law signed by President Barack Obama in January, the State Department expanded survivor benefits for employees and made the changes retroactive to 1983, so it would apply to the relatives of those who died in the 1983 Beirut embassy bombing, as well as the two State Department employees killed at Benghazi — Stevens and Sean Smith, an information management

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