Who Is the 'Bin Laden Hunter'?

What we know about sword-wielding Gary Faulkner and his mission

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Gary Brooks Faulkner, a 52-year-old construction worker from California, was detained by Pakistani police after claiming he was on a mission to kill Osama bin Laden. While details are still being collected, this would be the first example of a U.S. citizen being arrested in Pakistan for attempting to fight terrorists. Here's what's being reported:

  • Where He Was Going  "Police alleged the American intended to travel to the eastern Afghan region of Nuristan, just across the border from Chitral," writes The Associated Press. "The area is among several rumored hiding places for the al-Qaida leader, who has evaded a massive U.S. effort to capture him since 2001." As a side note, the AFP writes "Chitral attracts Western tourists for its hiking and stunning natural beauty and is considered one of the safer areas of northwestern Pakistan."
  • What He Was Carrying  "He had a pistol, dagger and a sword and was carrying night-vision equipment as well as Christian literature," The BBC writes.
  • What He Wanted to Do to bin Laden  "During initial interrogation, the American national said that he was going to Nooristan on a ‘mission to decapitate Osama bin Laden’ and his four accomplices who posed a constant threat to America," writes Zahiruddin at Dawn.com. The Associated Press agrees. Oddly enough, CNN quotes a Pakistani police chief saying Faulkner claimed "he had no intention of killing bin Laden." Also, according to Reuters, Faulkner told authorities he "suffered personal losses in the September 11, 2001 attacks."
  • What's the Going Price for bin Laden, Anyway?  "The al-Qaeda leader is the world's most-wanted man, with the US offering a reward of up to $25m (£17m) for information leading to his capture," notes the BBC.
  • Exit Thought: Give the Guy Credit for Trying, writes Paul Wachter at Politics Daily: "The real joke is not on a would-be Rambo like Faulkner but on the U.S. government, which has yet to capture or kill bin Laden as we approach the nine-year anniversary of 9/11... On the campaign trail, Barack Obama attacked President Bush's record regarding this lapse, but since assuming the presidency Obama, too, has failed to deliver bin Laden. As quixotic as Faulkner's attempt was, at least he, unlike the U.S. government, gave the appearance of trying." On his Twitter account, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof quipped, "Newspapers are in trouble. So I'm going to go off to catch Osama w/ a sword, and collect the reward for the NY Times."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.