A Michigan man claiming he tipped off the FBI to Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts in 2003 has hired a high-profile Chicago law firm to help him get the $US25 million reward offered for his capture, Jason Meisner of McClatchy-Tribune reports.
The Loevy & Loevy law firm sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey in August on behalf of 63-year-old Tom Lee, an international gem merchant living in Grand Rapids, Mich., who claims he “accurately reported” Bin Laden was living in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“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,” Lee told The Grand Rapids Press.
Lee, a U.S. citizen of Egyptian descent, said he learned of the complex’s location from a Pakistani intelligence agent who told him he had personally escorted bin Laden and his family from Peshawar to Abbottabad. The agent was a member of an anti-al-Qaida family who had done business with Lee for decades, according to a copy of the letter provided by the law firm.
Lee says he told a U.S. customs agent he previously worked with on corruption in the international gem trade and later met with an FBI agent for an interview, McClatchy reports. Lee’s lawyers say they provided a copy of an interview the customs agent gave verifying Lee’s claims with the letter.
Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs at his compound in May 2011, but U.S. officials claim his home in Pakistan wasn’t built until 2005, according to AP.
After Bin Laden’s death, officials claimed he was found by tracking his courier and the $US25 million “Rewards for Justice” payment for the terror mastermind’s “capture or conviction” would not be paid out, according to McClatchy.
“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 reads, AP reports.
Lee has been in the international gem business for more than 40 years and founded the Gem River Corp. — a company which counted former EPA administrator and acting FBI director William Ruckelshaus as the first member of its advisory board.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.