But the $25 million reward for the world’s most wanted man — Osama bin Laden — could go unclaimed.
Reward money has become an important tactic in the government’s fight against terrorism, given to people who provided “actionable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide,” according to the government program Rewards for Justice Web site.
But it is possible that bin Laden’s bounty will not go to anyone, since intelligence agencies used many different pieces of information to track down the man.
In 1995, cash payments motivated an informant to go to the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan and turn in terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who helped plan the first World Trade Center bombing.
The largest reward ever paid was a cool $30 million. The bounty was given to one person who provided information on Uday and Qusay Hussein, the sons of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who were killed in 2003 after a firefight with U.S. forces.
The 30 other terrorists remaining on the most wanted list have an average reward of $5 million.
Another reason bin Laden’s bounty may go unclaimed? Unidentified detainees, some of whom were exposed to interrogation tactics, gave a key piece of the information leading the U.S. to bin Laden. It’s doubtful the government is eager to make a detainee a millionaire any time soon.