Osama Bin Laden was number one on the FBI‘s “Most Wanted” list, and now the word “deceased” appears under his picture. Bin Laden’s capture, either dead or alive, came with a reward up to $25 million, according to the State Department "Rewards for Justice Program." Who will collect that award today?
Bin Laden was responsible for the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history and he alluded capture for 10 years. The CIA, FBI and other intelligence agencies have worked in the past decade to locate Bin Laden, who was found hiding in plain sight among relatives in Islamabad, Pakistan.
An important asset for fighting the war against terrorism has been the reward money set up by the State Department. The "Rewards for Justice Program," which is run by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, was created in 1984.
Since it’s creation the “Rewards for Justice Program,” has paid out more than $100 million to over 60 people, according to CNN. The program provides this reward money to people who provide “actionable information” that has prevented acts of international terrorism or has put terrorists behind bars, as it states on its website.
Harry Edwards, a spokesman for the State Department, tells CNN that the department does not generally discuss nominations for the awards. The reward offered for Osama Bin Laden was up to $25 million dollars, if it were paid, it could be less, Edward conveys. In the case of Osama Bin Laden it is possible that no money will be awarded, Edwards said. It was unidentified detainees that provided the key piece of information that led the investigators to Bin Laden’s location according to what President Obama’s administration officials.
Rewards have been granted for the capture of other terrorists. A reward was paid out for the information that led to the capture international terrorist Ramzi Yousef. He was convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
The largest reward paid out to date was the $30 million awarded for the information provided on Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam Hussein’s sons. This was paid to one person. Both these brothers were killed during a firefight wit U.S. forces.
Rewards that the government is currently offering includes one for information on Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al Quaeda’s second-in-command and the apparent heir to Bin Laden. This reward is for up to $25 million for this man. 30 other terrorists have rewards on their heads, with the average monetary value of $5 million for each.
The maximum reward for any one target is $50 million, which was what the cap was raised to in 2008, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not authorized that amount, according to Edwards.
The State Department does not usually disclose details about the recipients of the awards for safety reasons, but there have been some high profile cases that have been awarded in the public eye. In the Philippines a total of $10 million was awarded on four different occasions to recipients of the reward program.
Reference: CNN, The State Department Rewards for Justice Program