A Michigan man claims he tipped federal investigators to the location of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan eight years before his killing and has hired attorneys to help him collect the $25 million reward.
The al-Qaida leader was killed in May 2011 during a Navy SEAL raid on the three-story compound. U.S. officials have said the house wasn’t built until 2005, and Pakistani officials have said they believe he moved there in the summer of that year.
A letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press from a Chicago-based law firm representing Grand Rapids resident Tom Lee says the 63-year-old gem merchant reported the location of bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in 2003. The letter sent by the Loevy & Loevy law firm to FBI Director James Comey in August says a Pakistani intelligence agent told Lee that he escorted bin Laden and his family from Peshawar to Abbottabad.
The AP made a request to speak with Lee and Michael Kanovitz, the attorney who signed the letter, through the Loevy & Loevy law firm. The FBI didn’t immediately comment.
According to the letter, Lee, a U.S. citizen of Egyptian heritage, shared the information with customs and FBI agents. Lee reported that the Pakistani agent “was a member of a family that Mr. Lee had done business with for decades,” the letter said, and the agent and his family opposed bin Laden.
The letter said Lee, who lives in Grand Rapids, made “numerous attempts” to claim his reward but received no responses.
“Mr. Lee precisely identified the whereabouts of the most notorious terrorist of our era, a man responsible for the World Trade Center attacks, the most devastating act of terror committed on American soil, and numerous other assaults on Americans,” the letter said.
Lee told The Grand Rapids Press in an email Friday that he couldn’t understand why the government waited to act.
“It disturbs me, and it should disturb every American, that I told them exactly where bin Laden was in 2003, and they let him live another eight years,” he said in the email.
Bin Laden had slipped away from U.S. forces in the Afghan mountains of Tora Bora in 2001, and the CIA believed he had taken shelter in the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan. The U.S. was eventually able to find bin Laden by tracing his courier, Ibrahim al-Kuwaiti.
One of bin Laden’s wives told Pakistani investigators that she moved to the Abbottabad home in 2006 and never left the top floors.
$25 million FBI reward wanted by Tom Lee for info leading to Osama bin Laden
Tom Lee, 63, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, wants the $25 million reward he believes he is entitled to after having given the FBI information regarding the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, according to a CBS report on Friday.
According to the report which refers to a Chicago’s WBBM Newsradio report by Steve Miller, that the United States government has previously asserted that no one is going to get the $25 million reward for information leading to the capture or conviction of Osama bin Laden. The reason given for that decision was because it was electronic intelligence that lead to the raid that killed bin Laden, according to the government.
However, Lee – a gem merchant – claims he told the FBI where bin Laden was hiding back in 2003. He asserts that he knows a Pakistani intelligence agent who escorted bin Laden to the compound in Pakistan quite well. As Lee tells his story, he says the agent called him in 2003 and asked him if he wanted to know where bin Laden was, and he said, “Sure.” That’s when the agent informed him of bin Laden’s whereabouts. Lee said that, after that phone call, he told the FBI where the worst terrorist of the century was, and now he is asking for whatever is reasonable.
Thus far, Michael Kanovitz – a lawyer – wrote James Comey, the FBI director. Kanovitz informed Comey that Lee has a long history of working with the United States government’s investigators and has provided high-quality information about international criminals. Loevy & Loevy – a Chicago law firm – is helping Lee with the case.
Abbottbad, the Pakistan location Lee says he told the FBI about ten years ago, is where bin Laden was killed in a May 2011 raid by Navy SEAL Team 6. That’s why he believes he deserves some of the reward promised by the federal government.