Video: Bin Laden hunter’s brother: He had ‘good chance’

  1. Transcript of: Bin Laden hunter’s brother: He had ‘good chance’

    ANN CURRY, co-host: Now to new developments in the stunning arrest of a Colorado man in Pakistan . Gary Brooks Faulkner was detained on Monday as he tried to cross the border into Afghanistan armed with a pistol, a sword and night vision equipment. He told police he was on a mission to hunt down Osama bin Laden . His brother Dr. Scott Faulkner knew all about the plan and calls his brother a hero. Dr. Faulkner , good morning.

    Dr. SCOTT FAULKNER (Brother of Osama bin Laden Hunter): Good morning, Ann.

    CURRY: Well, you know, the average American wouldn't go across into Pakistan and spend basically seven years of his life trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden . What can you tell us about his brother and what would compel him to do this?

    Dr. FAULKNER: Well, Gary is not your average American . He's very passionate. He's a patriot. And after the Twin Towers came down in New York City , something stirred deep in his soul and he felt that Osama needed to come to justice. And so that's what motivated him for over seven years, almost 10 years now, to bring this man who is wanted by the US government to justice.

    CURRY: This was his sixth trip to Pakistan . Your family knew what he was doing. In fact, you drove him to the airport. Did anyone try to stop him?

    Dr. FAULKNER: Well, obviously my mother was not thrilled with Gary 's plans and she tried to talk him out of it. And our sister, Deanna , also tried to talk him out of it. But Gary is an adult and he was harming anyone else, he was not engaged in illegal activity so, you know, the rest of us felt if that's what he needed to do, then that's what he needed to do.

    CURRY: But Gary is -- has no military background, as I understand it. He's a -- he's a construction worker. You, however, did serve in the armed services . So didn't you -- weren't you at all concerned that he might get in the way of the US military , that the US military might not appreciate this vigilante approach?

    Dr. FAULKNER: No. He has a lot of survival training. My brother Todd , who's here in the studio with myself, and Gary , we've hunted all of our lives in the mountains of Colorado . So his survival skills was never a question. As far as the military goes, you know, if I -- being in the military , if Gary was a threat to their operations they would know who he was and they would tell him to stand down. So far as I know in our conversations, the government has never asked Gary , ` Look , you're interfering in an operation. We're close to this man. Give us intel or cease and desist.'

    CURRY: Are you suggesting that the military knew? Did anybody in the US government know about what Gary was doing?

    Dr. FAULKNER: I'm not suggesting that at all, no. I'm not privy to military intelligence and the government has not contacted myself or Gary .

    CURRY: Did you actually believe that your brother had a chance of success?

    Dr. FAULKNER: Early on, on his earlier adventures, I did not. But having talked to him, having listened to the information that he gathered from locals -- because when Gary would go to Pakistan he would dress in the garb of the Taliban . And when he had his beard long, and you have photos of that, he blended in very well. So he could go places that military operation of several men could not. So with that information, it made reasonable or plausible sense that he was in the right area. And given the fact that our military is focused in Afghanistan , really not in the northern mountains of Pakistan , I felt he had a good chance, yes.

    CURRY: Meantime, your brother , when you took him to the last time to the airport, is -- discovered I guess about six months before he left that he had problems with his kidneys, his kidneys were failing him. Your sister has said that he was a dying man. So how -- what do you -- how -- what is your response when you hear people publicly say -- question whether or not what he was doing was crazy?

    Dr. FAULKNER: Well, that's for public opinion. But knowing my brother , being a physician, I understand that people have to have a passion in life to live. And he was not crazy. He had a plan. It was a logical plan. On several of his other trips he has been in dangerous situations and had the wherewithal to back out. He didn't go guns a-blazing into this. He knew when the situation was getting out of hand. Now, on this occasion he knew his health was failing. He wasn't sure if he was going to be able to make it back alive. In fact, that's what we talked about on the ride the airport. I asked him what his final wishes were if he were to come back home in a body bag. But he -- this was not a death wish and he did not want to become a martyr.

updated 6/16/2010 7:19:42 AM ET 2010-06-16T11:19:42

An American construction worker detained in Pakistan on what authorities said was an armed solo mission to kill Osama bin Laden has been examined by a doctor, Pakistani officials said Wednesday, after his relatives warned he had kidney problems and needed dialysis.

Gary Brooks Faulkner, who was found carrying a sword, pistol and night-vision goggles on a solo mission to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden, according to Pakistani authorities, was also being questioned by a team of investigators, two security officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. They did not give additional details, including what the doctor had determined about the man's condition.

Friends and family say the construction worker is a devout, good-humored Christian who was "on a mission" to kill or capture Osama.

"A lot of kids grow up and say, 'I want to be Rambo,' you know? Well, he is," said Faulkner's brother, Scott Faulkner, 43. He said his brother made five previous trips to Pakistan.

Lengthy arrest record
The 50-year-old, who has a lengthy arrest record and served time in Colorado prisons, arrived June 3 in the town of Bumburate and stayed in a hotel there. He was assigned a police guard, as is common for foreigners visiting remote parts of Pakistan.

When he checked out without informing police, officers began looking for him, according to the top police officer in the Chitral region, Mumtaz Ahmad Khan. Faulkner was found late Sunday in a forest.

Image: Gary Brooks Faulkner
Larimer Country Sheriff's Office via EPA
Gary Brooks Faulkner, seen in a Colo. sheriff's booking photo in Jan. 2006, was detained in Pakistan on what authorities say was an armed solo mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

"We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden," Khan said. But when officers seized the weapons and night-vision equipment, "our suspicion grew." He said the American was trying to cross into the nearby Afghan region of Nuristan.

Chitral and Nuristan are among several rumored hiding places for bin Laden along the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment generally deny the possibility that bin Laden is hiding somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghan border, as Western intelligence agencies believe.

Family: 'He was so passionate'
Faulkner's sister, Deanna M. Faulkner of Grand Junction, Colo., said her brother suffers from kidney disease that has left him with only 9 percent kidney function. But she told The Associated Press that she did not think his illness was his motivation to go to Pakistan.

"I don't believe this was, 'I'm dying, and I'm going to do a hurrah thing,'" she said.

Image: Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden

Scott Faulkner said his brother was very religious and carried a Bible with him at all times but wasn't planning to proselytize. Scott Faulkner dropped his brother off at Denver's airport May 30, and the two discussed the possibility Faulkner would not return alive from his search of bin Laden.

"He talked about why he was so passionate" to find bin Laden, Scott Faulkner recalled, adding that his brother retained

vivid memories of the Sept. 11 attacks. "He has not forgotten."

But Scott Faulkner insisted his brother was on a rational mission.

"He's as normal as you I," Scott Faulkner said. "He's just very passionate, and, as a Christian, he felt, when Osama mocked this country after 9/11, and it didn't feel like the military was doing enough, it became his passion, his mission, to track down Osama, and kill him, or bring him back alive."

Scott Faulkner said his brother sold all his tools to finance his trip and was prepared to die in Pakistan. He also said his brother took no weapons and had a valid visa for Pakistan. Scott Faulkner hoped his brother wouldn't be charged with a crime.

On Tuesday, Gary Faulkner was being questioned by intelligence officials in Peshawar, Pakistan's main northwestern city. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Khan said Faulkner told investigators he was angry after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I think Osama is responsible for bloodshed in the world, and I want to kill him," Khan quoted him as saying.

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," Khan said.

He said police confiscated a small amount of hashish, enough for a single joint, from Faulkner.

"I'm worried about him," his sister said. "I'm worried that in Pakistan, they won't give him his dialysis. And if he doesn't get it, he's in serious trouble."

Bin laden, who is also reported to have kidney problems, has evaded a massive manhunt since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, which he is accused of masterminding along with other attacks. The federal government has offered a bounty of $25 million for information leading to his capture.

Hugo Corral, who owns a barber shop in Greeley, recalled cutting Faulkner's hair a few months ago. He said Faulkner was quiet and wouldn't answer his questions. After the haircut, Corral said, he saw Faulkner acting strangely outside his shop.

"He would walk, then stop, then do something like he was saluting something. It was kind of weird," Corral said. Through the glass of his shop, he said he could hear Faulkner cursing at no one in particular.

Stacey Stienmetz, who lived in Faulkner's apartment building in Greeley, described him as adventurous. Two years ago, he recalls Faulkner planning a hang gliding trip. More recently, he said Faulkner spoke about going to Pakistan to climb a mountain.

Gary Faulkner was in and out of Colorado state prisons between 1981 and 1993, serving a total of about seven years in five separate stints for burglary, larceny and parole violations, state officials said.

The Larimer County sheriff released a mug shot from a 2006 arrest on charges of failing to have car insurance. It shows Faulkner with shoulder-length gray hair parted in the middle with bangs that reach the sides of his wire-rim glasses.

He also has a shaggy, black beard with traces of gray hair in it, and he appears to be wearing a camouflage-patterned shirt.

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

Deanna Faulkner said her brother had been "all over the world many times" but declined to give details of past trips.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the embassy 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.

Deanna Faulkner said her brother usually gets dialysis every three days but can go up to two weeks without it.

"We contacted the State Department to let them know of his medical condition and that his family is here and we love him," she said.

NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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