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Gary Brooks Faulkner: quixotic bounty hunter, secret agent, or hero?

Gary Brooks Faulkner was detained in Pakistan Tuesday, and is undergoing psychological tests today. He said he was there to assassinate Osama bin Laden. Some Pakistanis wondered if he was working for the US government or Blackwater. His brother defended him as a 'man on a mission.'

By Issam AhmedCorrespondent / June 16, 2010

Dr. Scott Faulkner talks about his brother, Gary Brooks Faulkner, during a news conference outside the studios of a television station in Denver on Tuesday. Gary Brooks Faulkner, an American detained in Pakistan after local authorities found him carrying a sword, pistol and night-vision goggles on a mission to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden.

David Zalubowski/AP


Islamabad, Pakistan

Gary Brooks Faulkner, an American detained in Pakistan, on a personal mission to kill Osama bin Laden, will face psychological testing before authorities decide whether to prosecute him, says an intelligence official.

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One day after his arrest, officials and analysts are pondering what to make of Mr. Faulkner, a Colorado construction worker taken into custody in northern Chitral district carrying a gun, a 40-inch sword, night-vision goggles, Christian literature, and, according to an unnamed security official cited by the Pakistani daily, Dawn, a “small amount of hashish.”

“He’s quite likely a loner, an adventurer who thought he could accomplish what others could not,” says Talat Masood, a retired general and security analyst. “With all the resources at [the United States] disposal they would not require his services.”

Faulkner, according to his brother, Scott, has not served in the US military. But he told that his brother is in "great shape" and has been trained in hapkido, a Korean martial art.

Most likely, he adds, Mr. Faulkner will be deported.

Escaping security

The middle-aged man, who is currently being held by intelligence officials in Peshawar, had given the slip to security officials assigned to protect him by telling them he wanted to go for a walk. After a 10-hour manhunt, Faulkner was caught nine miles from the Afghan border. He told authorities that he wished to cross the border to kill the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and to join US forces fighting the Taliban there.

Police officials reported that Faulkner suffers from high-blood pressure and is a kidney patient.

Despite the $25 million US reward on Mr. bin Laden’s head, Faulkner is so far the only known would-be assassin to have been detained.

‘A man on a mission’

Faulkner’s younger brother, Scott, refuted claims at a press conference Tuesday in Colorado that Gary was mentally unstable, saying instead he was motivated by a desire to avenge the Americans killed in 9/11 and as a result had visited Pakistan six times.

“He's not crazy, he’s not a psychopath and he’s not a sociopath,” Scott Faulkner, a medical intern in Colorado, said. “He's a man on a mission and believes that God's got his back.”