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Benghazi suspects not on State Department's 'Rewards for Justice' list

The State Department's "Rewards for Justice" program -- which offers multimillion-dollar payouts for tips leading to wanted terrorists -- does not include suspects in the Benghazi terror attack. 

The State Department has not offered an explanation as to why those individuals are not on the list. Pressed by Fox News and The Associated Press on Thursday, spokeswoman Marie Harf suggested the important thing was that the Obama administration is resolved to find those suspects. 

"This is nothing at all to do with politics. We've made crystal clear that we want to find these people and bring them to justice," Harf said. "Whether we pay a couple million dollars isn't the point -- the point is we believe it's a priority ... and whether they are on a website or not doesn't change that." 

She cited "classified deliberations" as the reason the State Department could not publicly explain who was on the list and whether the Benghazi suspects were even considered. But when pressed further by reporters saying that the suspects could not possibly be kept classified, Harf said she would investigate further.

The decision to include an alleged terrorist in the program is made by the State Department after consulting with the FBI, CIA, Justice Department and National Security Council staff. 

The rewards run between $500,000 and $25 million -- the latter reward is for the leader of Al Qaeda in Pakistan. 

As one example, tips about American Adam Gadahn, a propagandist and mouthpiece for Al Qaeda in Pakistan who is not accused of directly murdering Americans, can be worth up to $5 million. 

Yet there is no reward for information leading to those who murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty -- which is shocking to a former State Department official who used to run the Rewards for Justice program. 

"We should be using every tool in our toolkit to go after the perpetrators of the crime and the Rewards for Justice is a program that's specifically set up for this purpose," Fred Burton said. "And the fact that we haven't had a reward for better than a year now, to me just makes little sense." 

Burton, who wrote a book on Benghazi called "Under Fire," said the rank-and-file are angry and disillusioned because four of their own were injured, and two others -- Stevens and Smith -- were killed. 

"I know that the agent cadre are very frustrated with the lack of the reward being offered," he said. "I suspect a tremendous amount of politics behind the scenes surrounding this because, in many ways I think, the White House and the State Department just wants to move forward." 

The FBI separately has put out a bulletin seeking information on Benghazi suspects. 

Asked about the State Department program initially on Wednesday, Harf was candid that she was not familiar with the program, and would have to look into it. 

"The answer is, I just don't know," she said. Harf provided more details on Thursday. 

 

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.