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U.S. Officially Drops Bin Laden Charges

Osama bin Laden.
Osama bin Laden.

Today, a 13-year-old federal court case against Osama bin Laden has officially been closed. More than a month after bin Laden was shot in the head and buried at sea, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan granted a request from prosecutors to drop the terrorism charges against bin Laden.

The Washington Post reports:

The government filing lists bin Laden's alleged crimes, and then states: "On or about May 1, 2011, while this case was still pending, defendant Usama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the course of an operation conducted by the United States."

It also contains a declaration from George Z. Toscas, deputy assistant attorney general for counterterrorism and counterespionage in the Justice Department's National Security Division. He certifies that the CIA and U.S. military personnel confirmed bin Laden's death through DNA tests, facial recognition analysis and an identification of the body by one of his wives.

The AP reports that Toscas wrote, "The possibility of a mistaken identification is approximately one in 11.8 quadrillion."

Bin Laden, the AP adds, was first indicted in June 1998, "on charges he supported the ambush that left 18 American soldiers dead in Somalia in 1993." Later charges were added for the bombings of two American embassies in East Africa and the 1998 bombing of the USS Cole. None of the charges stemmed from the attacks of Sept. 11.

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