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Michigan gem dealer claims he told U.S. where bin Laden was

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Updated: 11/01/2013 7:43 pm

A Michigan man claims to have given U.S. authorities the location of Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2003, eight years before he was killed. He says he’s still trying to collect the $25 million reward.

In a letter obtained by the Associated Press on Friday, lawyers stated 63-year-old gem merchant Tom Lee received the information from a Pakistani intelligence agent. The agent told Lee he had escorted bin Laden and his family from Peshawar to Abbottabad. Lee had been doing business with the family of the agent for decades when he was told of bin Laden’s whereabouts. Both the family and the agent were in opposition to the al-Qaida leader. Lee immediately went to the FBI and customs agents with the information.

The letter, sent from law firm Loevy and Loevy to FBI Director James Comey in August, said Lee made several attempts to claim the reward, but received no responses.

In an email press release to The Grand Rapids Press on Friday, Lee said he couldn’t understand why it took the government so long 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," Lee said.

U.S. officials have claimed the house was not built until 2005, and Pakistani officials believe bin Laden moved to the compound that summer, which would contradict Lee’s claim.

U.S. forces trailed bin Laden to Tora Bora in the Afghan mountain range, where he vanished in 2001. U.S. intelligence claims bin Laden was found after a tracing his courier, Ibrahim al-Kuwaiti. He was killed when Navy SEALs raided his compound in May 2011 .

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