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Gary Brooks Faulkner, Hunting Osama bin Laden: Armed American Detained in Pakistan Tells Police He's on a Mission

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Osama bin Laden (AP Photo, file)

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (CBS/AP)  Capturing or killing Osama bin Laden hardly seems like a mission for one man -- unless, perhaps, that man is Gary Brooks Faulkner. Pakistani police said Faulkner, a 52-year-old California construction worker, was armed with a pistol, a 40-inch sword and a dagger when he was detained Sunday in northern Pakistan, and told investigators he was on a solo mission to kill the alleged 9/11 mastermind.

Faulkner claimed he wanted to cross over into the nearby Afghan province of Nuristan because he had "heard bin Laden was living there", according to Pakistani officer Mumtaz Ahmad Khan.

Khan also said the American has a small amount of hashish in his possession.

Faulkner was picked up in a forest in the Chitral region late on Sunday, the officer said.

"We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden," said Khan. But he said when officers seized the pistol, the sword, a dagger and night-vision equipment, "our suspicion grew."

Khan said Faulkner was also carrying a book containing Christian verses and teachings.

When asked why he thought he had a chance of tracing bin Laden, Faulkner replied, "God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him," said Khan.

Faulkner was questioned Tuesday by intelligence officials in Peshawar, the main northwestern city.

Faulkner told police he visited Pakistan seven times, and this was his third trip to Chitral, which is a mountainous region that attracts adventurous Western tourists and hikers. Unlike much of northwestern Pakistan, it is considered relatively safe for foreigners.

Chitral and Nuristan are among several rumored hiding places for the al-Qaida leader, who has evaded a massive U.S. effort to capture him since 2001.  The U.S. government has offered a bounty of $25 million for information leading to bin Laden's capture.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the mission had received notification from Pakistani officials that an American citizen had been arrested. He said embassy officials were trying to meet the man and confirm his identity.

  • Edecio Martinez

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