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Osama bin Laden's $50-million bounty should go to Sept. 11 victims, lawmakers say

May 9, 2011 |  3:21 pm

Twin towers Osama bin Laden was killed through means that don't make anyone eligible to receive a reward, the White House said Monday. So what should be done with the millions that were earmarked for the Bin Laden bounty? Give it to the 9/11 victims and their families, two New York congressmen suggest.

"If the bounty isn't paid, Osama bin Laden's victims should get it," Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said Sunday alongside Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) at a news conference Sunday at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.

"Families and groups who helped deal with survivors of 9/11 should benefit," Weiner said while introducing a bill that would give away up to $50 million that was originally earmarked to serve as the bounty for the terrorist leader. 

Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that no one took the necessary steps to make themselves eligible for the sum.

"As far as I’m aware, no one knowledgeably said, oh, Osama bin Laden’s over here in Abbottabad at 5703 Green Avenue,” Carney said. “My sense is that the requirement for any kind of reward is to say that -- not to accidentally, through intelligence gathering, provide information that leads to the whereabouts of somebody like that.”

The Rewards for Justice program set up a reward of $25 million in 2001 to help encourage civilians to rat out Bin Laden. In 2004, Congress passed a bill that allowed the secretary of State to sweeten the bounty to $50 million.

With Bin Laden swimming with the fishes, Ayman Zawahiri currently has the largest bounty on his head at $25 million.


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-- Tony Pierce

Photo: The World Trade Center south tower (L) bursts into flames after being struck by hijacked United Airlines Flight 175, as the north tower burns following an earlier attack, in New York City in this September 11, 2001 file photo. Credit:  REUTERS/Sean Adair/Files