Now that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is dead, two city lawmakers have an idea for what to do with his bounty.
Reps. Anthony Weiner (D – Queens and Brooklyn) and Jerrold Nadler (D – Manhattan and Brooklyn) announced legislation that would award the bounty of up to $50 million approved by Congress for the capture of Osama Bin Laden, which many news reports indicate may never be distributed, to be instead distributed amongst organizations that provide service or aid to 9/11 first responders, families and survivors.
The Rewards for Justice Program, established in 1984 and administered by the State Department, established a bounty of up to $25 million in 2001 to help bring Bin Laden to justice. In 2004, Congress passed legislation providing the Secretary of State up to $50 million to award at his or her discretion to those who provided information leading to the capture of Bin Laden.
Now, following his death, U.S. officials are unsure whether the bounty of up to $50 million will be paid because his whereabouts were pieced together from various bits of information, leaving no single person responsible for putting investigators on his trail.
Weiner and Nadler’s legislation would redirect the funds to organizations that assist first responders, families, and survivors who were affected by the tragedy at Ground Zero.
“If the bounty isn’t paid, Osama Bin Laden’s victims should get it,” Weiner said. “I can think of no better recipient than those organizations which have committed themselves to helping first responders, their families and survivors whose lives have been forever affected by Bin Laden’s actions.”
“Because there is likely no awardee for the $50 million bounty for Osama bin Laden’s capture, those funds should now be used in support of the thousands of 9/11 families, responders and survivors,” said Nadler. “I urge the State Department to distribute the reward money to established organizations and institutions which provide services and programs to the 9/11 community.”