American Says He Was on bin Laden's Trail
An American on trial for allegedly torturing Afghan terror suspects in a private jail claimed Saturday in his first interview from custody that he was hot on the heels of Osama bin Laden and other militant leaders when he was arrested on July 5. Jonathan Idema told The Associated Press he had official sanction from Afghans and Americans to hunt down terrorists and said he has been prevented from showing the evidence in court. Prosecutors say Idema was waging a private war, and he faces up to 20 years in a crumbling Afghan prison if convicted. “We would have had (renegade Afghan warlord Gulbuddin) Hekmatyar in 14 days or less. We would have had bin Laden in less than 30 days” had he and his team not been arrested, said Idema, a colorful former U.S. Army soldier who spent three years in jail in the 1980s for allegedly bilking 60 companies out of more than $200,000 in goods.