Confusion Surrounds Reports of U.S. Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan

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Earlier, we reported on the helicopter crash in the Wardak province of Afghanistan that killed 31 American troops. The AP briefly reported that "one former U.S. official said that the dead included more than 20 Navy SEALs from SEAL Team Six, the unit that carried out the raid in Pakistan in May that killed bin Laden." Now they are reporting that, "they believe that none of the Navy SEALs who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan had participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden."

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Osama Bin Laden Had Been Plotting U.S. Attack for 10th Anniversary of September 11

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Osama bin Laden had apparently been gathering a team of militants to orchestrate an attack on the U.S. on September 11 of this year, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The Wall Street Journal reports that this intelligence comes from communications Navy SEALs acquired from Bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan after he was killed on May 1. The plans were "in the discussion phase," say officials, with Bin Laden and operations chief Attiyah Abd al-Rahman talking about who should be on the team and "bin Laden repeatedly rejecting names that Mr. Rahman suggested."

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'CIA John' Story on Bin Laden Killer Pits New York Observer Against Government, Journalism

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On July 5, the Associated Press reported about "John," a "career CIA analyst" who helped track down Osama Bin Laden. "In the hunt for the world's most-wanted terrorist," the AP wrote, "there may have been no one more important." They didn't use his name, for fear of "retribution," but the AP noted that he's in the famous Situation Room photograph taken during the Bin Laden raid. John Young of Cryptome.org found pictures of the CIA agent in question a few days later and then John Cook at Gawker showed them to a larger audience (thereby pissing off Fox News and many more). What no one knew yet (or had decided not to make public) was the man's name. Until now! Almost. In their cover story tomorrow, the New York Observer lets everyone know they have the name, but spends 3,640 words describing why they chose not to publish it.

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Osama Bin Laden Criminal Charges Formally Dropped

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Following the death of top Al Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden last month, federal prosecutors today dropped criminal charges against him because, as ABC puts it, he'd be "unable to appear in court to answer them." There had been a criminal case against bin Laden for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed 224 people and injured thousands. Per the Wall Street Journal, a nolle prosequi (trans: "please do not prosecute") filing was made in Manhattan federal court; Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewin recommended that bin Laden not be prosecuted on any of the charges -- and provided evidence, including DNA and facial recognition analysis, as well as eyewitness confirmation and more, to prove that bin Laden was indeed killed in the May 1 raid. Thus closes a chapter, of sorts, in our nation's history. [WSJ, ABC]

Bill Warren Will Dive for Osama Bin Laden's Body, Just to Make Sure It's Really There

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A famed shipwreck explorer, Bill Warren, has plans to comb the bottom of the Arabian Sea in search of Osama Bin Laden's corpse. The exploration could run him $1 million, but for some reason he thinks he can still collect the government reward. "There is still a $25 million reward that no one has collected, and the reward says dead or alive, well, if -- in fact -- he is dead, then I could collect the $25 million reward. Why not?" Well, because the White House said no one is getting the money. But Warren has other motives as well. "I want to prove, one way or the other that he is, in fact, dead," he told ABC News. Oh, brother.

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Jiwan Singh, Sikh MTA Worker, Likened to Osama Bin Laden, Punched in Face on Subway

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Indian MTA worker Jiwan Singh, for thirty years a resident of the United States, was still made the victim of hate crime, and on Memorial Day no less. His story finally made the Daily News this weekend, which reports that a man on the A train in Brooklyn accosted Singh, claiming Singh was related to Osama Bin Laden and demanding he move seats before punching him in the face twice. "I said, 'I am not Osama. I have nothing to do with him!'" Singh explained. "Due to that bastard, I have suffered so much, my family has suffered so much, my community has suffered so much." Singh's son lost an eye when he was stabbed in 2009 for wearing a turban and a beard, according to his father. The NYPD is investigating the latest "bias incident." Unfortunately, it's not an isolated one. [NYDN via @Heems]

Osama Bin Laden Death Photos Still Secret Despite Freedom of Information Act Attempts

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When President Barack Obama decided he would not make pictures of a dead Osama Bin Laden public for fear of inciting violence by "spiking the football," a handful of enterprising journalists went the legal route to campaign for their release. By filing Freedom of Information Act requests, publications like the AP and Politico argued that under U.S. press laws some materials from the raid, specifically photos and video, should be handed over in the interest of government transparency. So far, the requests have been unsuccessful, hitting road blocks right away. Now, the Pentagon is predictably opting not to expedite the process, as can be demanded in cases where official information is "urgently needed by an individual primarily engaged in disseminating information in order to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity." There's more in an update from the AP in our daily media column Press Clips. Plus: additional responses to the Times' anti-Twitter rant by Bill Keller and Katie Couric's final guest.

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Osama Bin Laden Tape Celebrates Middle East Revolutions as 'Arab Spring'

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A newly released audio message recorded by Osama Bin Laden not long before he was killed by U.S. forces has the terrorist leader co-opting the largely nonviolent successes of others as his own as he praises the rash of Arab uprisings around the world. "I think that the winds of change will blow over the entire Muslim world, God willing," said Bin Laden, according to translations. A video of the message shows an outdated photo of the slain leader, who credits Tunisia with starting the revolutionary moment. "Remember those that go out with a sword are true believers, those that go fight with their tongue are true believers, and those that fight in their hearts are true believers," he said. "This wasn't a revolution of starving and pain, but a revolution of giving and peace." From his secret compound, he urged action. "So, what are you waiting for?" Bin Laden asks. "Save yourselves and your children, because the opportunity is here." [Guardian]

Saif al-Adel Is Al Qaeda's Next Top Bad Guy

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In the vacuum left by the demise of Osama Bin Laden, a man known as Saif al-Adel ("Sword of Justice" to you; other aliases include Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi and Ibrahim Al-Madani) has been appointed interim leader of Al Qaeda, reports CNN. Al-Adel, who is Egyptian, was once a Special Forces officer and has long "played a prominent role" in the terrorist group. He is a Most Wanted Terrorist "for Conspiracy to Kill United States Nationals, to Murder, to Destroy Buildings and Property of the United States, and to Destroy the National Defense Utilities of the United States" and is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. He's also an Aries. [CNN, FBI]

Barack Obama's Ratings Boost Over Osama Bin Laden's Death Lasted Two Weeks

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Two weeks ago we were "celebrating" the death of Osama Bin Laden, attempting to start pro-U.S.A. chants on subway trains (some of us), patting our commander in chief on the proverbial back for his courage and determination -- not to mention follow-through! -- in capturing and killing the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist, with the help of some brave SEALs of course. Remember that? Praise for Obama and the administration continued for days and weeks following, and Obama's approval rating hit a high of as much as 60 percent. But now, according to a Gallup poll released today, the "bump President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden more than two weeks ago in Pakistan has vanished completely," reports the National Journal.


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