Osama’s $25 mn reward likely to remain ‘confidential’ forever

Osama, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed on Sunday.

Last Updated: May 06, 2011, 16:42 PM IST

Washington: It is unclear if anyone will receive any of the 25 million dollar reward for al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s capture due to the confidentiality of the Rewards for Justice Program, an interagency program administered by the United States State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed on Sunday in a top secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Pakistan’s Abbottabad city.

“Given the importance of confidentiality to the Rewards for Justice Program, we can’t comment on whether anyone has been nominated for a reward or in this or in any given case,” ABC News quoted Harry Edwards, a spokesperson for the State Department, as saying.

According to the Rewards for Justice website, since its beginning, the program has paid out over 100 million dollars to over 60 people with information that “prevented international terrorist attacks or helped bring to justice those involved in prior acts”.

The law that started the program, the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, states that “no reward…may exceed 25,000,000 dollars except as personally authorised by the Secretary of State”.

Meanwhile, Matt Levitt, director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that the purpose of the program is “to try to highlight, expose and also try to get people to come forward, in those cases where it`s possible, to give information leading to capturing people”.