Since 1984 the United States, under the Rewards for Justice program, has offered large rewards for information leading to the capture or killing of high level terrorists.
In this Stratfor article Scott Stewart discusses how the program functions, the successes it has had, and reason why the program, considering the large bounties offered, isn't even more successful
It is an interesting read. I've excerpted the beginning of it below, and at the end of the excerpt is a link to the full article.
All the talk of cash payout in the article brought to mind gold diggers when I went to select the article's Hot Stratfor Babe. That led to the movie The Gold Diggers of 1933 and Ruby Keeler, one if its female leads.
Ms Keeler started her dancing career at the age of 14 in a speakeasy called the El Fay nightclub. she soon caught the eye of Broadway producers who cast her in musicals. On Broadway she was noticed by Flo Ziegfeld, who launched her film career.
She had a rocky marriage to Al Jolson. However, her second marriage to John Warner Lowe was was a happy one, and she left show business to raise her children. She returned to television briefly in the early 1960s, and died in 1993.
Why U.S. Bounties on Terrorists Often Fail
By Scott Stewart, April 12, 2012
U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman announced April 3 that the U.S. government's "Rewards for Justice" (RFJ) program was offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). In other Rewards for Justice cases involving Pakistan, suspects such as Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abdel Basit and Mir Amal Kansi have hidden in Pakistan and maintained relatively low profiles. In this case, Saeed is a very public figure in Pakistan. He even held a news conference April 4 in Rawalpindi announcing his location and taunting the United States by saying he was willing to share his schedule with U.S. officials.
While the Saeed case is clearly a political matter rather than a pure law enforcement or intelligence issue, the case has focused a great deal of attention on Rewards for Justice, and it seems an opportune time to examine the history and mechanics of the program.
Rewards for Justice
In the shadow of the 1983 and 1984 bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon, the U.S. Congress established the Rewards for Justice program under the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, which was established by the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986.
The program was intended not only to reward people who provide information that leads to the arrest or conviction of people who plan, commit or attempt terrorist attacks against U.S. targets but also to obtain information that prevents such attacks. U.S. government employees and the employees of other governments are not eligible for the program. The law also authorizes program participants to be entered into the U.S. Department of Justice witness protection program to ensure their safety after providing information. The statute covers arrests of and convictions for the subjects sought and contains a clause for "favorable resolution" of such cases that can be applied when a military strike results in the death of the suspect.
While the RFJ program currently offers large rewards -- $25 million for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda, and $10 million for figures such as Saeed and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar -- the rewards initially offered by the program were much smaller, up to $500,000. That amount was increased to $1 million in 1990, and then augmented to $2 million total through matching funds provided by the Air Transport Association and the Air Line Pilots Association. The program gained the ability to offer large payments for figures such as al-Zawahiri under the 2001 Patriot Act, which was passed after the 9/11 attacks.
The RFJ got off to a slow start and didn't really begin to have much of an impact until the early 1990s. Its first significant success occurred during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when an informant in Bangkok tipped off American officials to a pending attack against U.S. interests there by agents of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. The informant received a significant reward and was relocated to a safe place along with his family. However, rewards paid for information leading to the prevention of attacks have proved to be the exception rather than the rule for the RFJ.
The program also figured prominently in the February 1995 capture of Abdel Basit in Pakistan. Basit, widely known as Ramzi Yousef (the name on one of his fraudulent passports), is a Pakistani citizen born in Kuwait. He was the principal operational leader and bombmaker in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. After fleeing the United States he also planned a number of other failed or thwarted attacks in Manila, Bangkok and Pakistan. Basit is also the nephew of alleged 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, with whom he conspired. The widespread use of the Ramzi Yousef name and Iraqi passport provided a great deal of confusion regarding his true identity, but it also allowed the government of Pakistan to extradite the Pakistani citizen to the United States with very little public backlash.
The RFJ was also used by the CIA to entice Pakistani tribesmen in June 1997 to hand over Mir Amal Kansi, who was convicted and executed in Virginia, for a January 1993 shooting outside the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. Kansi, a Pakistani citizen, was rendered from Pakistan instead of extradited, which generated a great deal of controversy inside Pakistan.
While the RFJ advertises that it has paid out more than $100 million in rewards, it must be pointed out that a great deal of that money has been paid in Iraq, where the reward paid for the deaths of Udai and Qusay Hussein alone was $30 million. More than $11 million has been paid out in recent years for leaders of the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines. Although $25 million rewards were offered each for Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, rewards were not authorized in their cases.
Read more: Why U.S. Bounties on Terrorists Often Fail | Stratfor