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George Clooney buys movie rights to Osama bin Laden driver book

UPI News Service, 08/12/2008 

U.S. actor-director George Clooney's Smokehouse production company reportedly has bought the movie rights to a book about Osama bin Laden's one-time driver.

The Los Angeles Times reported Smokehouse secured the film rights to journalist Jonathan Mahler's book "The Challenge."

The book reportedly tells the story of Salim Hamdan -- a Yemenite who worked for the al-Qaida leader and was captured and detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility -- and Charles Swift, the Navy lawyer who defended him.

The Times said Swift insisted Hamdan was only a driver for bin Laden and worked as such to support his family. The reason why rockets were found in his car was never offered, the newspaper noted.

A U.S. military tribunal convicted Hamdan last week of aiding the terrorist leader and sentenced Hamdan to more than five years prison. Hamdan has already spent seven years at Guatanamo, meaning it is unclear when he may be released, The Times said.

A report in the British newspaper The Guardian said Mahler's book sympathetically depicts Hamdan and Swift as underdogs up against the mighty United States government.

The Times said Clooney is believed to be considering playing Swift himself.

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Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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