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. palintwit

    Sarah Palin is on her way to Pakistan right now. She's bringing everybody mooseburgers and s'mores.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alter_Ego

      You sure must fear Sarah if you decide to post an insult about her on this story. Bless your heart...

      May 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      why, she can almost see Pakistan from her back porch! You betcha!

      May 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • X

      She's twice the woman you'll ever be, if she happened to let you live after that remark, it's only because she believes it would hurt more to live in your body with your face than not to.

      May 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NoGop12

    Armed or not, the seals saved the American people countless millions if not billions by shooting that POS right there. Dumping his body in the ocean also was brilliant by not giving those psychos a place to go and worship him. No virgins for him!

    P.S. for those of you who think the President doesn't deserve credit. You see if you have the guts to order someone's death knowing if it gets screwed up will end any chance of you keeping your job. Great Job Mr. President!

    May 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Heck of a job, Mr. President!

      May 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • rah

      Obama came in and told the CIA, bin laden is TOP PRIORITY where bush the moron said IRAQ is.
      Good job now we will see operations taking out everyone that had contact with him down. You bet he had all the contact info on him.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Of course the president deserves credit for DOING HIS JOB. Now if he would do it a little more often -t hat would be even better. As for his part in all of the bin ladin ordeal – guess what...obama blasted the very tactics that allowed intelligence to find this man – yet, hypocritcally decided it was good to kill him although he was found using that same intelligence. He did the right thing but he doesn't deserve most of the credit...

      May 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • JClark

      For all of you mo-rons who think Obama doesn't deserve any credit, cuz after all, he was just sitting in his office? Well, bin Laden just sat in his cave/bunker/mansion and gave the order too, on 11 Sep 2001. Can't have it both ways. Obama/Biden 2012!

      May 4, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dadsnorz

    The 911 Victims were unarmed as well. Poetic Justice.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rednecklovers and fishingboats

    Pakistan is a great country: and yet another that resists the the world domination of hypocrites.

    There may be no perfect country, like on duty cops that leave obnoxious messages on your voice mail , and then try to manipulate real estate or other property transactions using relatives and offpsring, or commanders who chase civilians on roadways in an America that is insulated as their personal playgrounds.

    So then _ Pakistan is a great country: one of many in these these times.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      HA! Pakistan is a third world dump ruled by military thugs and religious zealots. That's how / why a man of Bin Laden's calibur was able to set up shop within shouting distance of a military base and live there for years.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Randy

    Guess he should've armed himself then.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fallout

      Yep. 🙂

      May 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ztank

      Ah, an unforgiven quote. I can hear Eastwood saying that with a US commando outfit on, explaining why he shot Laden dead while he was unarmed. Classic.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JClark

      He did arm himself. With a woman.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    Now the story changes. Yesterday they said he was armed.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dbarak

      Gee, do you think maybe the early reporting was wrong, or that maybe additional information came in?

      May 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Yeah no kidding. And ABC said he was shooting back too! Geez...

      May 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • BWood

      What difference does it make? All of the stations were reporting things right off the bat that turned out to be false.

      It's a good thing he was unarmed. That just improved the chances for OUR guys to not be injured or killed. That's all that matters in the end.

      I find it awesome that he had to sit there, hopelessly waiting since he had no weapon, and then the last thing he ever saw was an American badass.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JOE

    John Boehner on operation "Geronomo." Mr. President, you should have consulted congress before executing this highly secretative and sensitive national security mission.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stationary Dave

      Do you know who were the first to leak the operation? GOP congressional staffers! I think it they did the right thing by keeping this closely-held info.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alter_Ego

      JOE on CNN – "I have nothing beneficial to say, so I will simply spew insults. I am not a very bright man."

      May 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. yeah

    Isn't it fun to sit on a computer and play polotician, CIA, FBI, HLS, ATF, Navy SEAL, police and all knowing?

    May 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sxray04

    Captured? No need for that it was our time to make a statement, you can run but you can't hide.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ABRAHAM

    Bring Troops home. AMERICA is ready.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Seriously!

    Ghost........Acute renal failure huh......How do you know? Maybe he just got shot in the head a few days ago.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Peter in CT

    Now that UBL is terminated, it's time to take care of KSM.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Space oddity

    I wonder if he died as a coward – begging for mercy. He knew of the action going on in the house. Interpreters were there speaking in his native language, calming the innocents. Chances are he had the door barricaded, and US forces on the other side were speaking to him. No different than a drug raid. Once the door came down...

    May 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chuck

    If he reached for a gun, they will shoot.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 2/8

    He now gets to answer to all those people whose deaths he was responsible for, it's gonna be one heck of a line up over there.

    May 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
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