Panetta says he thinks bin Laden photo eventually will be released
Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda's leader, seen in an undated photo.
May 3rd, 2011
10:35 PM ET

Panetta says he thinks bin Laden photo eventually will be released

[Updated at 10:33 p.m.] Vice President Joe Biden commended the team responsible for taking down Osama bin Laden in a stealth operation that showed "there's no place you can hide" from the United States.

"It was a staggering undertaking and there was no one else, I believe, other than an American group of military warriors who could do it. And the world is a safer place today, not only for the American people but for all people," Biden said in a speech at the 2011 Atlantic Council Awards Dinner in Washington.

He also said he was a little surprised by the overwhelming global reaction and offered prayers to victims of terror worldwide.

"They remain in our thoughts and our prayers. But I think one clear message has gone out to the world - there’s no place to hide, no place you can hide. The United States decides, from one administration to the next, that we will in fact reach a goal, we are determined and we will relentlessly without any hesitation follow on that commitment. Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter."

[Updated at 7:08 p.m.] CIA Director Leon Panetta said Tuesday he thinks a photograph of Osama bin Laden's body will be released at some point, but that it is up to the White House to make the final call.

[Updated at 6:39 p.m.] A few U.S. congressional staffers who received a briefing Tuesday about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan were shown photos of bin Laden's body, a congressional source familiar with the briefing said, according to CNN congressional producer Deirdre Walsh.

One staffer who reviewed the photos suggested they might be too graphic for public release, according to the source.

U.S. officials are weighing whether to release an image of bin Laden's corpse.

[Updated at 6:18 p.m.] A widely distributed photo of a dead Osama bin Laden is fake. A photographer consulted by CNN said the gruesome photograph is most definitely not real, and the Guardian newspaper in Britain reported the picture is actually a combination of two photographs.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are weighing whether to release an actual image of bin Laden's corpse.

"I'll be candid that there are sensitivities here in terms of the appropriateness of releasing photographs of Osama bin Laden in the aftermath of this firefight," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday. "We're making an evaluation about the need to do that."

[Updated at 5:03 p.m.] U.S. commandos shot Osama bin Laden when he made a threatening move during the Americans' raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a U.S. official said, according to CNN's Pam Benson.

Earlier today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said bin Laden was not armed when U.S. forces shot and killed him.

When Benson asked the first U.S. official whether bin Laden tried to grab a weapon or physically attack a commando, the official said only, "He didn't hold up his hands and surrender."

Recapping the five compound occupants who U.S. officials say were killed in the assault: Bin Laden; two al Qaeda couriers; one woman; and a son of bin Laden. A second woman - one of bin Laden's wives - was shot in the leg, but not killed, after she rushed the commandos, Carney said earlier today.

The woman who was killed was shot "in crossfire" on the first floor where the couriers were killed, and it's not clear whether anyone was using her as a human shield, Carney told reporters today.

The official who spoke to Benson said no other person - dead or alive - besides bin Laden was taken from the compound.

[Updated at 4:10 p.m.] The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday praising intelligence and military officials for the operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

[Updated at 3:22 p.m.] A fuller account of the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: He said two teams of U.S. Navy SEALs cleared two buildings, one of which was a three-story building where bin Laden was living with another family. A third family lived in the second building, Carney said.

In bin Laden's building, three people were killed on the first floor, including two al Qaeda couriers and a woman "who was killed in crossfire," Carney said. Carney said it's unclear whether anyone used the woman as a human shield; U.S. officials previously said that a woman was used as such.

The U.S. team found bin Laden in a room with one of his wives on one of the upper floors, Carney said. Bin Laden's wife rushed the U.S. commandos, and was shot in leg but not killed, he said. Bin Laden resisted and was shot and killed, Carney said.

Carney said bin Laden wasn't armed. When asked Tuesday why the decision was made to shoot and kill bin Laden if he was not armed, Carney responded that "he resisted" and that the U.S. personnel "handled themselves with the utmost professionalism." He did not explain how bin Laden resisted.

On Monday, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said bin Laden was resisting and had a weapon, though he added that it was unclear whether bin Laden had fired a shot.

[Updated at 2:50 p.m.] White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says that it's unclear whether anyone in Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, used a woman as a human shield during the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden early Monday. One woman was among five compound occupants - including bin Laden - who were killed in the raid, U.S. officials have said.

A different woman who was shot in the leg - previously identified by U.S. officials as a wife of bin Laden - had tried to assault or charge the U.S. commandos, Carney said.

[Updated at 2:29 p.m.] White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the United States has a "complicated but important relationship" with Pakistan. Top administration officials have been in regular contact with the Pakistani government, he said.

"The idea that these kinds of complications exist is not new," he said.

"There has also been a great deal of important cooperation" in the fight against Islamic extremism, Carney said. He warned against "tarring" everyone in Pakistan's government because of the revelation that bin Laden had been living so close to Islamabad.

American officials need to learn more about the "support network" that allowed bin Laden to live there, he said.

[Posted at 2:27 p.m.] Osama bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed by U.S. forces in the assault on his compound in Pakistan, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

The al Qaeda leader resisted the assault on his compound, Carney said, adding: "I think resistance does not require a firearm."

Carney described how the U.S. Navy SEALs carrying out the operation went floor-to-floor clearing the three-story compound where bin Laden's family lived with another family.

Three people were killed on the first floor, including a woman, and then the U.S. forces moved upstairs where they found bin Laden, Carney said.

"Bin Laden was then shot and killed," Carney said. "He was not armed."

On Monday, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said bin Laden was resisting and had a weapon, though it was unclear if bin Laden had fired a shot.

soundoff (930 Responses)
  1. Ken Nelson

    Never mind about the pictures....I want to see his birth certificate!

    May 4, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. Linari

    @ Candie B.D.B Girl:
    Are you sure you 10 year old grandson didn't *write* your posts? I hope he got a better answer elsewhere thank your strange rant. I sincerely hope he gets a grasp of reality from someone who actually know what they are talking about.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Scottish Mama

    I think the USA should not show the body of Osama Bin Laden. It would be tasteless and disrepectful. The USA should have some class and we all know that even with pictures some conspiricy people will not believe. It will not make people feel better about the deaths at the World Trade Center. In memory of the innocent people that died we pay them homage, respect and dignity. We remember them at a time like this. We should see this as a stepping stone to stamp out terrorism and go on, let Bin Laden name fade into history. Let the memories of the the men and women at World Trade Center live on and speak of them, not the man that ordered their deaths.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. AJ

    Radical Islamic's are going to avenge bin Laden's death whether the photo is released or not. We gave Al-Qaeda the satisfaction of watching thousands die on 9/11. They deserve to see what we have done to their leader.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn C

      I agree,we had to see loved ones dead.we should be able to see bin laden dead!!

      May 4, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • JEAN

      THAY PUT HIS BODY ON GOOGLE THAT DID,NT TAKE LONG TO GET OUT IT MAD ME SICK THAY BEAT HIM REAL BAD THEN KILLED HIM WHY WOULD THAY PUT THAT OUT SO SOON.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Candie B.D.B Girl

    Mr. OBAMA STOP HESITATING IN PROVIDING US THEE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE SO CALL VIDEO AND PICTURES OF THE DEATH AND KILLING OBL, IS HE REALLY DEAD OR DID U STASH HIM AWAY CAUSE HE'S UR PEOPLE. POLITICIAN ARE NOT VERY TRUTHFUL ALL UR REALLY WANT FROM US IS OUR VOTE NOT OUR SAFETY OF US REAL AMERICAN CITIZEN, UR GIVE IMMIGRANT A INCH THEY TAKE A MILE. WHAT US CITIZENS GET NOTHING BUT TRAGIC DEATH OF OUR REAL TRUE HEROES, OUR AMERICAN MILATARY TROOPS.BRING THEM BACK HOME, BUT DONT SHOW US NO PHONY VIDEO IMAGES OF A DOUBLE 0BL,NOR PIC, WE GROWN FOLKS NOT CHILDREN, WE HAVE THE RIGHTS TO KNOW THE TRUTH STOP ALL THIS POLITICIAN LIES AND PROMISES. YOU PUT US NEW YORKERS IN DANGER UR GOVERMENT KNEW WAY BEFORE IT WAS GONNA HAPPEN ABOUT 911 DID WE GET A WARNING OBVIOUS NOT, MR OBAMA U COME AND STAND IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR GREAT AND BEAUTIFUL N.Y.C TIMESQUARE AND SEE IF U REALLY WOULD DIED FOR US 0R INSTEAD KILL JUST TO GET THE 2012 VOTE FROM US REAL AMERICAN BIRTHER FOR RE-ELECTION. NOT****

    May 4, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      I have seen on your previous post you are incharge of a ten year old. I suppose you revel in seeing grusome details and are still a birther. You will not believe in the pictures anyway so why show them. Class is something you also lack. As far as the ten year old good luck with your Candy parental figure, I am sure hate and birther spew will not serve you well.

      May 4, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Amanda M

    My thoughts? The Holocaust happened and we have pictures that CONFIRM the inhumane treatment of millions of people. Pres. H. Truman told people to take pictures because he knew that people wouldn't believe that such a depraved act could happen. If something like the Holocaust STILL has people questioning whether it happened, WHY would a picture of bin Laden change the conspiracy theorists' belief that he isn't really dead?

    May 4, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You are 100 % right who cares he is done finished let the fish in the Ocean have a field day with his body. The people that were killed on 9/11 didnt have a decent burial and some remains have never been recoverd. Now lets move on to more important issues.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. quincy

    It should be clear Pakistan has used the US. Simply busted. This country harbors al qeada, its leader, and its cohorts...
    The govt, and Bin Laden, also probably easily killed Bhutto as well....I say to hell with Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Come home and lets rebuild why we got to where we are.....
    They have been defeated...in more ways than one!

    May 4, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. SMackenzie

    On the subject of releasing the death photo of Osama Bin Laden; Think of why, we were after him- and how we ALL had to watch that footage on every news network in the WORLD...

    If this country is considering its actions excusable as eye-for-an-eye –which is acceptable by me. Then, gruesome footage for gruesome photo is fine.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  9. HelenHull102951

    Pull our troops from all middle-east countries, show the freaking photos and tell Pakistan and the rest of the middle-east countries to "KISS OUR ASS."

    May 4, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  10. bobcat2u

    It really doesn't matter if they release the photos or not. The people that don't want to believe, aren't going to no matter what you do . Such is the mindset of the conspiracy theorists . Maybe they could get some deep sea diving suits and go retreive his body so they can put their minds to rest.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brett

    Don't release the pictures. There is nothing to be gained. If OBL is alive, let him and/or al Qaeda release a picture of him holding the local paper reporting his death.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Eddie in NYC

    The moment releasing the death photos will seem like a mistake is when they start appearing on placards and posters in Anti-American and pro-terror rallies and bazaars in the world, as shrines to a martyr. In trying to appease our emotional need to sate feelings of vengence, we would unwittingly taunt the passions of a new generation of would-be terrorists, and give Osama Bin Laden a second life as a iconic romantic figure.

    Releasing these photos would not appease the cynics, because they will always find a way to pile conspiracy atop conspiracy to their own aims. Transparency and public record are persuasive arguments, but for the time being, the best actions in my opinion, are to give our enemies nothing. For the top Al Queda leaders, they know he is dead. For the rank and file, they are skeptical but not certain. Leaving that organization in that state of disarray is to our advantage.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Slake

    It is very important to SEE him DEAD!!! If not then the memories that people will have is a "living one" and that is what makes some of his evil supporters believe in his legacy of terror.... Why do some people STILL believe that Elvis is NOT dead?.. If you see someone dead!! then you have no choice than to think of him as dead!!! since that is the last visual you will have of the person.. and it is very important that here is no doubt to his evil followers that he is dead!!! to also understand what their end will be ...

    May 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robert Meredith

    Let's see the photos and stop this discussion. There are more pressing issues facing the US and many other countries. OBL is gone. Next. Pres. Obama made the right call. Now average Americans must seize control of the public discourse, otherwise we will be overwhelmed before the next election cycle is in full bloom. We cannot afford to be boondoggled by our elected officials who will stoop to anything to remain in office. OBL was a mass murderer. He haunted three American presidents. We must not allow anyone to assume "credit' for the demise of OBL. A simple lesson is: always look at and ask questions about anything our elected officials are not discussing; especially that which makes them uncomfortable.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mat

    Dear Wikileaks, Can you please publish the pictures of OBL and the also the video if possible, TIA<

    May 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
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