Last spring, days after a team of Navy SEALs shot and killed Osama bin Laden, helicoptered his body out of Pakistan to a Navy warship, then dumped it somewhere in the Arabian Sea, California undersea treasure hunter Bill Warren decided to go find it. A year later, Warren tells Spain's El Mundo newspaper that he's nailed down the spot where the Navy heaved the body overboard, and will mount an expedition this summer to drag bin Laden's corpse up from its watery grave, photograph it, and take DNA samples. Here's what you should know about Warren's strange quest:
Who exactly is Bill Warren?
He owns a California-based undersea salvage company, and by his count, has discovered more than 150 shipwrecks, but also failed — twice — to unearth a gold-laden Spanish caravel called the Trinidad. According to his website, Warren is also an accomplished actor and singer (mostly of contemporary Christian music), as well as an unsuccessful politician. He's also in a spat with the U.S. government over the Caribbean island of Navassa, which he's tried to claim under an old guano-mining law. He's currently in Azerbaijan, searching the Caspian Sea for ancient ships.
Why is he hunting for bin Laden's body?
Warren notes that "many millions of people" don't trust the Obama administration's version of what happened during and after the raid. "This search will attempt to prove one way or the other that bin Laden is dead," he says on his website. He had to call off his search last summer "for lack of interest and lack of financing," but is confident he can raise the $300,000 he needs for this year's expedition, possibly in Azerbaijan. "There's lots of oil money here," he tells El Mundo.
How does he know where the body is?
Warren says he discerned the location from satellite images shared by a Pentagon source. The images purportedly show exactly where the body was thrown overboard last May. Of course, Warren won't divulge the location, but assures El Mundo that it's about "200 miles west of the Indian city of Surat."
And he's really going to go looking for the corpse?
That's the plan. Warren says that if the money materializes, he has ships lined up to launch on June 1, and wagers that he'll find the body within a week, but no later than three months. That puts his quest smack dab in the middle of the U.S. presidential race. "The only fear I have now is that the U.S. attempts to kill me," Warren tells El Mundo. "Or sink our ship. It's a great risk... You can't hide from America."
What are the odds he actually finds bin Laden?
I would take Warren's whole tale "with a grain (or more) of sea salt," says Robert Halprin at The Inquisitr. Yes, at least, says Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo. "It's highly unlikely that, even if he were right about the location — and again, there's very little chance he is — he would be able to find a body bag in the bottom of the deep sea." Besides, in light of his willingness to indulge conspiracy theories, it's not clear what he's even looking for: If the government and Navy are lying about killing bin Laden, "why would the body be down there at all?" Well, we say "good luck to Warren," says Global Grind. "We're sure he'll get a reality show out of this adventure."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Hey, Paul Ryan's new poverty plan isn't completely terrible!
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- The secret to Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing grilled cheese sandwiches
- Deficit scolds are the most crazed ideologues in America
- The disturbing lessons of Arizona's un-American execution
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
Subscribe to the Week