Tales from the Trail

Looking to cash in on bin Laden bounty? Forget about it

May 9, 2011

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, it doesn’t look like anyone will be claiming the multimillion-dollar bounty the U.S. government put on his head.

White House spokesman Jay Carney signaled that no one was likely to receive the $25 million reward, which the Secretary of State had discretion to double, because it was U.S. intelligence work rather than a tipster that led to the deadly raid on the al Qaeda chief’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a week ago.

“As far as I’m aware, no one knowledgeably said, ‘Oh, Osama bin Laden’s over here in Abbottabad at 5703, you know, Green Avenue’,” Carney said, drawing laughs at the White House daily briefing.

The question of whether anyone had done enough to earn the reward has been one of intense speculation since a U.S. special forces team shot and killed bin Laden, ending a long manhunt for the world’s most-wanted militant who masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks.

U.S. officials have insisted they tracked bin Laden down mostly by piecing together clues from interrogations, electronic surveillance, satellite imagery and then spying on the compound where he was holed up.

Carney said that the reward isn’t given unless someone had provided the information intentionally — not “accidentally” — that led to bin Laden.

New York lawmakers have a suggestion for what to do with the reward money: give it to theĀ  survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks as well as the families of victims.

Photo credit: Reuters/Defense Department handout (leaflets dropped over Afghanistan)

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