Should 9/11 families get the $50 million bin Laden reward?

Two New York congressmen say the $50 million reward ought to go to 9/11 first responders, along with survivors and victims' families

President Obama greets 9/11 first responders last week: Two New York lawmakers say the $50 million reward for tracking down Osama bin Laden should be shared among those directly affected by 9
(Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The State Department has long advertised a reward of $25 million for "actionable information" on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts, and Congress had once authorized bumping it to $50 million. Colorado "Bin Laden hunter" Gary Faulkner says he should get a portion, implausibly claiming that he scared bin Laden out of the mountains and into Abbottabad, thus handing bin Laden to the SEALs "on a platter." Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) have a more realistic plan: Give it to groups that help 9/11 survivors and the families of 9/11 victims. Is that a good use of the money?

Yes, 9/11 families deserve it: The information that led us to bin Laden "was gathered by our own intelligence forces and interviews with prisoners," says Rep. Weiner. They're not going to get the reward, so unless we act, "the money will stay in the bank account." That's a waste, and "I think that there are many, many members of Congress with an overwhelming support for... serving the needs of the survivors' families."

"Bin Laden bounty may go to 9/11 victims"

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No, give it to the soldiers: Since U.S. forces found and killed bin Laden, says the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News in an editorial, "why not use the money to help the servicemen and women who have sustained mental and physical injuries" in our post-9/11 wars, and the families of those killed? That, or divide it among the SEALs who actually did the deed — anonymous though they are, they "certainly deserve something beyond our thanks."

"Give bin Laden reward money to soldiers' fund"

Save it for the next al Qaeda leader's head: Those ideas all make for "a feel good news story," says Stephen Allen at Gather. But they're about as sensible as rewarding Faulkner for his failed mission to behead bin Laden. The reward program was set up to entice people into helping us capture terrorists, so the money is best left in the account, hopefully to "catch the next al Qaeda leader on America's list: Ayman al-Zawahiri."

"What happens to the $50 million bin Laden reward money?"

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