Next month, a 67-year-old salvage diver from Fallbrook, California will journey to the North Arabian Sea to comb the depths of the ocean in search of the body of Osama bin Laden. It's a very expensive obsession this man has, and it made him very popular in the national and local media this weekend. Here's what we know about Bill Warren, the Osama hunter who refuses to give up.
Who is this guy? He's a self-proclaimed "expert underwater treasure hunter." According to the New York Post, he has found "more than 200 wrecks" and is "confident he can find bin Laden's body." He told CNN that "there's no treasure that's ever eluded him, and doesn't expect bin Laden's corpse to be the first." He insisted, "There's never been a shipwreck I didn't find."
Why's he doing it? The man is skeptical of the White House, especially after it refused to publish photos of bin Laden's corpse. "I am mainly doing it to prove a point to see if he is really dead," he told San Diego affiliate Channel 6. "We do this because we are patriotic Americans and feel that President Obama failed to provide the proof," he told TMZ. The New York Post got the best quote from him. "The Obama administration should have released the photo, like we did with Billy the Kid, or [John] Dillinger, or even Saddam Hussein," he said. "I have a Russian girlfriend, and she tells me that over there, in intelligence circles, they don't believe bin Laden's really dead."
How's he going to do it? Apparently, Warren has some considerable resources. He told ABC News he's going to rent a remote-operated submarine paid for by funding from his "associates." He estimates the trip will cost about $1 million. Channel 6 says he has investors lined up from Chicago, Scotland and New York. He boasted a little more to the local affiliate:
Warren claims he has a good idea where bin Laden's body is located, and said his 180-foot boat is waiting in Western India with high-tech equipment that can point out just about anything in water.
"It's what they found the Titanic with, it's sidescan sonar, and it's very high tech," Warren said.
Is he worried the body may be decomposed beyond recognition? Nope. "The fish can't get at it. It's in a sealed Navy burial bag, zipped up," he said. "White canvass rubber lined inside, 200-pounds of weights." New York Post has more details on his budget expectations. "He expects to spend about $400,000 on a two-week jaunt next month. He plans to rent a ship in India for $10,000 a day, and spend another $1,000 a day for a remote-operated submarine."
What's he going to do with the body? "We would photograph, videotape, and do a DNA test, and then try to figure out what we are going to do with his body after that," he told Channel 6. And if he's really hurting for cash after the expedition, he's got a back up plan. "He says after he finds Bin Laden it is possible he'll sell his corpse to the highest bidder," reports Channel 6. "I'm very serious about it" Below is his interview with ABC News:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.