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Snagging stories in the hunt for bin Laden

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  • Snagging stories in the hunt for bin Laden

    Snagging stories in hunt for Osama

    Swashbuckling journalist Robert Young Pelton has just returned from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with a ripping-good yarn about the CIA's efforts to bag Osama Bin Laden.

    A former mujahedeen commander named Hajji tells Pelton - for the upcoming issue of National Geographic Adventure - that al Qaeda's leader is probably hiding in a valley town on the Pakistan side.

    "Chittal would be the most likely place," Hajji says. "There is little movement there in the winter. The airplanes don't work well that high up, and you will know when people are coming."

    Pelton, 48 - who was kidnapped and released last year by a Colombian paramilitary group and wrote a book titled "The World's Most Dangerous Places" - also interviews a covert CIA operative, nicknamed "The Contractor."

    "Our job is to shake the apple tree," says the Contractor, part of a task force that includes Special Forces and Delta Force members and Navy SEALS. "We aren't hunting Bin Laden from the top. Our strategy is to focus on the little guys ... then we intercept their calls and the hunt begins. We are just hired killers. Guns with legs.

    "The trouble is that we are doing this inside Pakistan," he continues. "Our government can say that 'we' are not going into Pakistan. But you can be damn sure that white boys are going into Pakistan and shooting bad guys."

    Waxing spiritual, the Contractor adds: "These days, the Agency is looking for Mormons and Born Agains. People with a lot of patriotism and the need to do good. At least we start that way."

    Then, of course, there's the challenge of staying combat-ready.

    "Most of us are into steroids big-time. D-balls [Dianabol] to bulk you up and Sustanon to help you maintain what you gained. The doctors turn a blind eye to it. We get the stuff across the border in Pakistan."