DENVER — Gary Faulkner is back home in Colorado after his personal quest to track down al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden ended with his arrest in a northern Pakistan woods.
The Greeley, Colo., man was detained June 13 when authorities found him armed with a pistol, a sword and night-vision equipment.
He was released Wednesday morning in Pakistan and reached Denver around midnight.
The tired yet buoyant construction worker spoke briefly with reporters, saying he was feeling good. “All I want to do is get some rest.”
Faulkner declined to field questions about his trip or his immediate plans as he was hustled through the airport by brothers Todd and Scott.
But during a stopover in Los Angeles, Faulkner was asked by reporters if he planned to return. “Absolutely,” he said. He added cryptically, “You’ll find out at the end of August.”
Faulkner said he was well cared for during his confinement and that Pakistani medical workers administered dialysis to treat his kidney disease.
Scott Faulkner, a physician in the northeastern Colorado town of Fort Morgan, said he intended to check his health on Thursday. He traveled from Los Angeles with Todd, his sister Deanna and mother Arlene.
In Pakistan, he told officials he was out to kill the al-Qaida leader. He was eventually moved to Islamabad before being released without charges, according to Scott Faulkner.
He also spoke about his intent to get bin Laden.
He said organizing his trip “took a lot of money and a lot of time.”
“This is not about me. What this is about is the American people and the world,” he said in comments aired on KTLA-TV. “We can’t let people like this scare us. We don’t get scared by people like this, we scare them and that’s what this is about. We’re going to take care of business.”
Faulkner, who is unemployed, sold his construction tools to finance six trips on what relatives have called a Rambo-type mission to kill or capture bin Laden. He grew out his hair and beard to fit in better.
Scott Faulkner said 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.
“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?”
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 dropped him 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.