DENVER — An American on a solo mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden is back in the United States, 10 days after authorities found him in the woods of northern Pakistan with a pistol, a sword and night-vision equipment.
TV reports showed Gary Faulkner on Wednesday afternoon after he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport. The Colorado man said he wasn't giving up on his mission.
"I would describe the situation, like: I got dialysis. So anyone got a kidney they want to lend me so I can finish this up?" Faulkner told KNBC-TV shortly after his arrival.
He appeared in good spirits, but wouldn't elaborate on his ordeal.
"Everything is going good. Unfortunately, guys, I would really, really like to give you guys more information, but there's a lot of people that I have to protect also," Faulkner told KNBC.
Gary Faulkner, of Greeley, Colo., had been detained in Pakistan since June 13. He told officials he was out to kill the al-Qaida leader. He was then moved to Islamabad, and his brother told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he was being released by the Pakistani government without charges.
His brother Scott Faulkner said he spoke to his brother briefly Tuesday, and he reported being treated well in Pakistan. By the excitement in his brother's voice, Scott Faulkner said he thinks his brother came close to finding bin Laden.
"He said he couldn't wait to return to the good ol' U.S. of A," Scott Faulkner said.
Gary Faulkner is an out-of-work construction worker who sold his tools to finance six trips on what relatives have called a Rambo-type mission to kill or capture bin Laden. He grew his hair and beard long to fit in better.
Scott Faulkner told reporters last week that his brother wasn't crazy, just determined to find the man America's military has failed to capture nearly a decade after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
"Is it out of the norm? Yes, it is. But is it crazy? No," Scott Faulkner said. "If he wore a uniform and called himself special ops, would he be crazy?"
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State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington that the family would have the best information on Faulkner's case. Faulkner, two department officials have said, refused to sign a waiver allowing the government to discuss his case publicly.
"In this particular case, as in all cases where we have an American citizen in custody of another country, we are in touch with that individual, we are in touch with his family," Crowley said. "We stayed in close contact with him and with his family throughout this, and we are gratified it was resolved rapidly."
Faulkner left Colorado on May 30. Scott Faulkner, a physician in the northeastern Colorado town of Fort Morgan, dropped his brother off at the airport and wasn't sure he'd see him again. But he and other relatives have insisted that Gary Faulkner left the U.S. unarmed, had a valid visa for Pakistan and was guilty of no crime while there. Indeed, relatives have said they hope the trip encourages more people to look for bin Laden.
"Now there's going to be hopefully a renewed effort to get this guy — he's still wanted, and he's still out there," Scott Faulkner said last week.
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