Secretary of State Colin Powell has authorized payment of a $30 million reward to the individual who provided the tip-off that led U.S. forces to the hiding place of the two sons of Saddam Hussein two weeks ago. U.S. officials hope it will encourage Iraqis to come forward with information that will locate the former Iraqi leader himself.
The payment, which officials here say will be delivered shortly, will be the largest ever made under the State Department's "Rewards for Justice" program. And the decision to grant the reward, coming only two weeks after the U.S. raid that led to the deaths of the two sons, was made in the shortest span of time ever.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says expeditious action, and the award of the entire sum offered for the two brothers, is aimed at underscoring both the credibility of the rewards program and the United States' appreciation for the risks taken by the anonymous informant.
"This is very important to us," he said, "and that we do sincerely appreciate the effort that this individual made and the risk that he took to help us in what is a very important development for the United States, for coalition forces, but also for the people of Iraq. And so we wanted to do this as quickly as possible. And finally I would say that we want to make clear that there are other opportunities for similar, almost similar, sums of money to be paid should other individuals want to come forward with information about Saddam Hussein."
The State Department had announced the rewards of up to $15 million for information leading to either Uday and Qusay on July 3. At the same time, a $25 million reward was posted for their father.
Spokesman Boucher refused to give any details on the identity of the tipster understood to be Iraqi, or say whether that person will avail himself of provisions of the program allowing for relocation to the United States and other protections.
The pay-out in the case of the brothers will be 15 times as large as the previous record reward paid, $2 million, for information that led to the apprehension in Pakistan of Ramzi Yousef, later convicted in connection with the 1993 bombing at New York's World Trade Center.
Officials say the program, in all, has expended about $10 million in rewards since 1995, mainly to informants in terrorism cases, though rewards are also being offered for information on indicted persons being sought by the U.N. war crimes tribunals in the Balkans and Central Africa.
There is a $25 million reward posted for terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, the same bounty as for Saddam Hussein.