Diver to search for bin Laden's remains

Australia, Melbourne: A photo shows front page coverage in Melbourne on May 3, 2011, of the death of Osama bin Laden in a firefight with US troops in Pakistan. (AFP Photo / William West)
“I am serious about this,” says 59-year-old professional diver Bill Warren. “I am not joking.”

Why did Warren need to preface any statement with a warning like that when he spoke to the German Press Agency DPA this week? After all, Warren is a former California pool salesman and nightclub singer that has graced the stages of LA and Vegas under the pseudonym Michael Valentino.

Wait. Why was a German press agency even talking to Warren?

Second to serenading west coast club goers, Warren’s big passion is deep-sea treasure hunting. He has attempted to scour the ocean before in search of sunken ships off the coast of Oregon and Haiti. He has written to the Queen of England to let her know his plans to locate the remnants of long-lost seacraft in the Firth of Forth. And if his attempts turn up a pirate ship, said Warren in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times, he could reap in hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now Warrren is planning on heading to the Arabian Sea. He is going to use sonar to try and locate the body of Osama bin Laden, and yes, as he says, he isn’t joking.

"The main motivation is to try to see if my president was really telling the truth and if bin Laden is truly dead on the bottom of the ocean,” said Warren to DPA.

Only six weeks after Navy SEALs executed the al-Qaeda leader and dumped the remains at sea, Warren is ready to load up a boat with some cameras and a sonar scanner to set out to find bin Laden’s body. He is looking to set sail from India within a month with a small crew and claims he has so far already found three investors to finance the search.

And Warren’s estimate for the excursion—around $400,000.

The treasure-hunter thinks the expedition would make for a “wonderful documentary,” and isn’t expecting too many loops to jump through, other than finding bin-Laden of course.

"I think President Barack Obama or one of his representatives in Washington will tell me not to go ahead with the search," he said.

Once the body is located, Warren is aware that that could possibly open up a whole other can of worms. It’s a "very sensitive" issue, he says.

And then there is the whole matter of identifying the body. Warren says he will use DNA, but a study by the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada) found that many sea creatures went to work on deconstructing a pig carcass dropped in the Saanich Inlet in mere moments. Pending the environment, the oceanic waters of the Arabian may not be the best for bin-Laden's bag of bones.

Warren plans on taking eight weeks to search the sea, which is around 1.5 percent of the almost ten year span it took the US government.