Gary Faulkner returned home to Greeley, Colo., late Wednesday after being detained June 13 when authorities found him armed with a pistol, a sword and night-vision equipment. He was eventually moved to Islamabad before being released without charges Wednesday morning, according to his brother.
The tired yet buoyant construction worker reached Denver around midnight and spoke briefly with reporters, saying he was feeling good. “All I want to do is get some rest,” he said.
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 brother’s health on Thursday. He traveled from Los Angeles with other family members to bring his brother home.
He had dropped him off at the airport in Colorado on May 30 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.
In Pakistan, Gary Faulkner told officials he was out to kill the al-Qaida leader. He 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.
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.”
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.”
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.