The NY Times describes an interesting footnote to the death of Osama, and does not vex its readership with nuance or history:
Prosecutors Are Expected to Seek Dismissal of Charges Against Bin Laden
It should happen with little or no fanfare, but it will still represent a moment that some thought might never occur: federal prosecutors in Manhattan are expected to file court papers this week that will formally ask a judge to dismiss all charges against Osama bin Laden.
The move should formally close a case against the leader of Al Qaeda that began in Federal District Court in Manhattan with an indictment on June 10, 1998, and expanded over the years with later versions, adding some two dozen defendants.
And how does the Times describe that indictment?
The first indictment against Bin Laden ran eight pages and charged him with conspiracy to attack United States defense installations.
The indictment detailed Al Qaeda’s history and Bin Laden’s role as its leader. It charged that his operatives had trained and assisted Somali tribesmen in an ambush in 1993 that killed 18 American soldiers in Mogadishu.
Later indictments charged a broad conspiracy that also included the bombings on Aug. 7, 1998, of two American Embassies in East Africa that killed 224 people and the deadly attack on the destroyer Cole in 2000.
The original indictment, kept secret at first, came at a time when the C.I.A. was considering a plan to capture Bin Laden and turn him over for trial, either in the United States or in an Arab country, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. Those plans were not carried out, but the law enforcement investigation continued.
“There was no question from our perspective that at the time of the June 1998 indictment, the objective was to bring Bin Laden back for trial,” said Mary Jo White, the United States attorney in Manhattan at the time.
Well, now - every righty worth his (or her!) Rush Limbaugh bobble-head doll knows what the Times forgot to mention - the original indictment (this is the November 1998 version) included a passage describing a relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein:
4. Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.
That allegation came from an al Qaeda defector and was dropped in a superceding indictment:
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, now a U.S. attorney in Illinois, who oversaw the African bombing case, told the commission that reference was dropped in a superceding indictment because investigators could not confirm al Qaeda's relationship with Iraq as they had done with its ties to Iran, Sudan and Hezbollah. The original material came from an al Qaeda defector who told prosecutors that what he had heard was secondhand.
Obviously, "Can't be proven" does not equal "Not true", but still - there is no mystery as to why the Times chose not to vex their readership with that bit of history. The 9/11 Commission eventually concluded that there had been contacts but no collaboration between al Qaeda and Iraq.