America's Most Wanted

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," March 2, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: If Usama bin Laden (search) is hiding near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, some folks there could make a lot of money. The U.S. is broadcasting ads throughout the region, offering millions of dollars for information that will help us nab these bad guys. So, will this new campaign produce any leads? Heather Nauert is here with the story.

HEATHER NAUERT, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. The answer is yes. This new campaign has already brought in some new leads. TV, radio and print ads have been put out by a program called Rewards for Justice (search). And that program helped lead to the capture of Uday and Qusay Hussein. The man who nabbed them got $30 million from the U.S. government. Now, U.S. officials hope that the same thing is going to work with bin Laden and other terrorists.

Joe Morton, the director of the program, which is run by the State Department, joins us with more on the new ad campaign. Joe, I understand that some tips are starting to roll in. Without compromising any kind of investigations that you might have going on, what can you tell me about the kinds of tips you're getting?

JOE MORTON, DIRECTOR, DIPLOMATIC SECURITY SVC: Well, Heather, thank you, first of all, for the opportunity to speak today. Yes, we have been receiving some tips. So far, in the month of January, we received 23 tips — and the month of February, over 40.

NAUERT: Well, that's got to be good news for your folks. How do you weed out the ridiculous tips from the ones that are plausible?

MORTON: Well, I think, first of all, you should understand that all information that we receive is confidential. So what we try to do is, once the information is received, we try to weed it out internally with various different government agencies.

NAUERT: You're running an ad campaign, which includes — this is from the television ad you're looking at right now, it's broadcast in a bunch of different languages in Pakistan. But there's also a print campaign and newspapers and a radio ad. Who are some of the folks that we're looking at? Obviously we know whom Usama bin Laden is, but some of the others?

MORTON: Well, if you go to the Web site — — you can see absolutely everyone that we're running the campaign on. But again, in Pakistan specifically, it's radio, TV and television.

NAUERT: Are these all Al Qaeda-related guys, or are we looking for folks in other parts of the world?

MORTON: No, this is a worldwide campaign. We're looking for others.

NAUERT: Now, what happens once somebody gives out a tip that proves to be accurate, and you get the bad guy — what happens to the person who provided the tip?

MORTON: The person that gets the tip gets the money. It's as simple as that.

NAUERT: Well, $30 million is a lot of money, for example, for the guy who turned in Uday and Qusay — what happens to them in terms of safety? What does the U.S. government end up doing with them?

MORTON: Well, in that instance, relocation is a possibility.

NAUERT: OK. So they may be able to live in the United States or another country and at least not have to fear for their lives like they would if they were living in their home country?

MORTON: I don't want to get into specifics, but again, the idea is that we don't want them to fear for their safety.

NAUERT: OK. One thing that people might say about the program is, you know, some of these jihaddists are idealists and they're not going to perhaps want money. They just want Americans dead and wouldn't turn in Usama bin Laden for anything. What is your reaction to that? And how do you try to get them with money, if they aren't into money?

MORTON: I don't think anybody can say with an absolute degree of certainty what motivates people. So I think in the past the Rewards for Justice has worked. This is how we captured Ramsey Youssef (search). We had a matchbook campaign, someone saw that, and they walked into one of our embassies, and that led to his capture.

NAUERT: Well, let's just remind folks who Ramsey Youseef was. He was the mastermind for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. You guys put this on a matchbook? That's pretty clever.

MORTON: In fact, I have the matchbook right here, Heather.

NAUERT: OK. Let's take a look at that, if there's any way we can zoom in on that. Of course lots of people smoke in the Middle East, and so you would have to imagine that this got distributed pretty widely.

MORTON: Absolutely.

NAUERT: Now, not to say that there are lots of bad people in this part of the world, but you're airing these ads in the north — partially also in the northwestern part of Pakistan, where it's believed that Usama bin Laden could be hiding — what if another terrorist turns in bin Laden? How do you — how do you make sure that the money doesn't go into the hands of bad guys?

MORTON: Well, we have an interagency committee that basically assesses this information and how the reward is distributed. So I think we have pretty strict controls so that doesn't happen.

NAUERT: OK. Joe Morton, thanks a lot for joining us to talk about the program.

MORTON: Thank you, Heather. And again, the number is 1-800-USREWARDS.

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