Senate: Put OBL Reward at $50 Million

By Z Byron Wolf And Krista Kjellman

Jul 13, 2007 12:28pm

The United States Senate voted this morning to double the reward for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to $50 million, in a "show them the money" action. "It’s been nearly six long years. Osama bin Laden remains free," Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who sponsored the amendment, said on the Senate floor before the vote. In the hopes more money will entice bin Laden’s inner circle to turn him in, senators on both sides of the aisle voted to enable the U.S. State Department to increase the bounty on bin Laden’s head from $25 million to $50 million. But senior U.S. officials say it isn’t all about the money. "The appeal of, call it the ideology rather than the religion, exceeds the appeal of money or any other blandishment that we’ve been able to offer," Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, testified before Congress earlier this week. The amendment to the annual Department of Defense bill also requires Defense Secretary Robert Gates to send a report on the hunt for bin Laden to Congress every 90 days. "The threat against our country today is a threat by Osama bin Laden, the leadership of al Qaeda operating from a secure and safe place in Pakistan, we are told, planning attacks against our country and others," Sen. Dorgan said. As the Blotter on reported earlier this week, senior law enforcement officials say there are growing signs of a "Summer of ’07" terror attack in the U.S. At the center of the concern, they say, is intelligence that an al Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or already here. But while Republican Sen. Larry Craig, Idaho, voted in favor of the reward increase, he didn’t think it would do any good. "Does money make the difference?" he asked on the Senate floor before the vote. "Because if money had made the difference, Osama bin Laden would be in his grave." As for the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, a top CIA official testified before Congress earlier this week that the al Qaeda head is most likely alive and waiting in Pakistan. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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