Internet Absurdity: Bin Laden Listed at FOX Headquarters

An Ohio man says he has located Osama bin Laden in the United States and wants to claim the U.S. government's $25 million reward.

Using an online person search built from phone directories and other public records, Thomas Potter of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, turned up three listings for "Usama bin Laden."

The first listing put the al Qaeda leader at the California headquarters of media giant FOX Entertainment Group. The second placed bin Laden in the office of a Bethesda, Md., Internet firm owned by the son of a former Defense Department official. And the third pinpointed bin Laden's secret hideout as an unidentified location in Hermitage, Tenn.

A self-described "househusband" and 9/11 skeptic -- "I am not a 9/11 conspiracy theorist," he says, "I just do not believe a word of the government's 9/11 conspiracy theory" -- Potter made his discovery this Sunday morning, as part of what he calls a years-long research effort to debunk the "official" version of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Now, Potter says the government owes him the massive reward it promises to anyone with information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden.

"I understand that the FBI is offering $25 million," Potter wrote in an e-mail to the Department of Justice, alerting them to his findings. "I would like to know if the reward is tax free and if I could please receive it in cash."

Calls to FOX and the Bethesda Internet firm failed to turn up America's most wanted terrorist.

"There's no Osama that works here. Obviously, this is some sort of a prank," FOX spokesman Scott Grogan told the Blotter on

"Unfortunately, I don't" have Osama bin Laden on the payroll, Phil Schmitz of Bethesda Interactive Solutions told "I'm sure you wouldn't be the first person to call me if I did."

Schmitz confirmed his father, Joseph, was the top Pentagon watchdog from 2002 to 2005. Joseph Schmitz then joined the Prince Group, which owns the private security contractor Blackwater USA.

"I promise you this has no relation to that," Schmitz said of his father's activities.

So how did bin Laden come to be associated with the two companies in the massive database? It's something of a mystery.

The site does not allow the public to add or amend entries in its database, although individuals can ask to have their information removed.

In an e-mail statement, the company told only that their listings "originate from publicly available local telephone records and other public information sources." It declined to disclose any further information.

Shortly after contacted, a search for "Usama Laden," the term Potter used, on the company's site returned only the Tennessee location for "Usama bin Laden." No phone number accompanies that listing.

Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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