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. us1776

    Nobody cares if bin Laden was armed or not.

    Who is going to take the time to ask the most notorious terrorist in the world if he is armed?

    The guy could have a trigger device in his hand.

    There's is no time to determine those things.

    The SEALS were engaged by hostile fire from inside the compound.

    That gave them the right to eliminate the threat.

    When you are in a high threat situation you don't go around asking each individual if they are armed.

    You shoot first and ask questions later.

    Otherwise you become dead very fast.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Norton

    Why in the world are worried if he was unarmed or not? The mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters killed in 911 were unarmed... they were working to provide for thier families.. making an honest living.....Bin Laden was in a million dollar home using his wife for a shield.... enough said.. what a coward

    May 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Jones

      you know who else was unarmed?

      the millions of Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani and Libyan civilian lives America's pointless wars have destroyed.

      The American military = the world's ultimate terrorist

      May 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • z-man

      How dare you call the US the ultimate terrorist. It's not as if they have used the atomic bomb not once but twice. It's not as if they have not attacked more countries than anyone else. It's not as if they support covertly or overtly most of the dictators of the world. It's not as if they have not supported governments or groups that have killed 1000s of civilians. I suggest you wash you mouth for making such a baseless accusation. Don't ever post here, we don't need honest people like you.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. robert

    Here is what I dont understand. We are skeptical to release a photo of a man who orchastrated and attack against our country and killed almost 3,000 people. A man who we have been hunting for 10 years, and during that hunt we have lost countless more lives, a man who stood behind the airing of people from our country being beheaded. A man who befriended another dictator who we took down after showing our troops being burned to death in the street. Why is it too much to ask to see the photo of this man dead? The American people can choose if they would like to view the picture, but to me making it public is without question. The bigger question is why wont they?

    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gem

      Seriously? They don't want it to be used by fundamentalists – you know which kinds- to fuel hatred towards America.
      Same reason his body was not allowed to be enshrined.

      May 3, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralphie

      What matters is whether the guy is dead. I don't need to see a photo of a guy with his head blown off. Half the people who want to see it will immediately claim it's fake anyway. Dead is dead. Time to move on.

      May 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Margaret Wells

      It will inflame the Muslim world. Is it worth the risk?

      May 3, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • joen

      Have you seen the fake Osama News reports following 9/11? Creepy, we need real investigation not the people who are committing the acts..

      May 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bay of Pigs Vet

    Leon Panetta should leak us his own nude photos.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. christy

    I personally don't need a photo to know that the military forces are doing their job. My hat goes off to everyone of them and their families. Although, there are times when its hard to have faith I do have faith in our leaders that he is dead. I am not an Obama backer but I will give him a round of applause. Its been a long road to get here and there is still a long road for recovery. But lets show our military respect and appreciate what has been done instead of whining over a picture.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      I am so with you! well said

      May 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      Yeah, let's trust the government and military completely. They never lie to the people about anything.

      May 3, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. trex

    OBL didn't raise his hands to surrender? Man, I don't recall all those that died in the WTT's had that option. OBL died KNOWING who was there. OBL, aka ....."fishfood"

    May 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously Folks

      Thats right Trex, fish gotta eat too!

      May 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sherwin

    Just wondering why he wasn't taken alive... Unarmed vs. Navy Seals? They could have done it for sure, either by drugging him or something. Doesn't exactly make sense...

    May 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • makingcents

      Sherwin – Please give us one good reason why he should have been or had any right to be taken alive. Get a grip.

      May 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      @makingcents: How about two good reasons? 1. The ability to interrogate the suspect and obtain valuable intelligence. 2. The opportunity to provide closure to the survivors of the 9/11 tragedy through a public trial and finding of responsibility. Really, it's all about truth, justice and civility.

      May 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • FedUp

      Why go to the trouble of taking him alive?This was easier and saved this country more money than we could imagine.Putting him in a safe place,going through a trial would cost a fortune.This was it is over and done with.He has met God and is now burning in hell!

      May 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      @FedUp: Yup... that's American justice for you. Who needs the rule of law anyhow? Human rights are just a nuisance we could do without. And international law... well who cares about the rest of the world anyway?

      May 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • makingcents

      Cyberdog – I've seen a number of your posts, and quite frankly you don't deserve a response. You are a joke.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      @makingcents: The only thing that is a joke here is that people like you are so easily bamboozled into believing almost anything by the powers that be in the name of patriotism, xenophobia and religious bigotry.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottd

      If he was taken alive, first it would be years of figuring out where to try him, who detains him, who defends him... you would have people trying to get to him if he was locked up here, you would put anyone guarding him in danger if you kept him there. Just too many problems would have risen from taking him alive.

      May 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      This was an extremely high risk operation. The seals were in a country without permission. They had to make fast decisions or run the risk of losing bin Laden or getting themselves killed by the Pakistani military who were on their way. Give them some slack.


      May 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Keri

    so are we saying it is NOT ok to air a picture of this monster but IT IS ok to air our own people jumping/falling from the twin towers the day he ordered them to be smashed into by our own planes?? really?? unbelieveable.......!

    May 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gem

      Keri dearie. The people taking that decision have studied diplomacy and practiced it longer than you or I have surfed the internet. Give them credit for taking a hard, non self -serviing, yet prudent and practical decision.

      May 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sickpnai

    When you call for war and to kill all infidels You should not be anywhere without your guns!

    May 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dennis

    Armed,unarmed.Hands raised,hands lowered.None of this matters anymore.What truly matters at this point is one thing.He is now DEAD.Allahu Akbar.!.!.!

    May 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. z-man

    Guys..we must believe what the US says. It's not as if they've lied to us before. Wasn't the Jessica Lynch story true or the Iraq WMDs or currently how osama used his wife as a human shield....

    May 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyberdog

      Exactly. It's not like its credibility is in any way questionable, right?

      May 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • z-man

      The lies continue.. First it was reported that he died while firing and now it's being reported that he was unarmed.. As for the pics they will be shown as soon as they have been photoshoped by the experts. They cannot be shown right now because they are not ready yet. We need to make sure that they will be just perfect. Evidence will be created to match our alibi.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Inappropriate Allah Muhammad O'Reilly

    Of course he didn't hold up his hands and surrender. His hands were busy grabbing a woman so that he could hide behind her like a whiny, pathetic little candy@5s, just like a manly man swinging his enormous desert schlong in the name of Allah.

    May 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. joen

    Whats up with the fake Osama videos after 9/11? Thats really weird Im nervous for our country

    May 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jon N

    Why in the world are we giving any country money at all right now? We seem to be more concerned about other countries than our own. Dem. or Rep. can you really tell a difference theses days? If there is an important issue that comes up, they start talking about social issues and avoid the issue all together. Who is in control? It would be nice if a reporter could call these guys out on this.

    May 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. True Patriot

    There should be no reason why they shouldn't relase the picture we need proof to know he is dead. As American citizens we have the right to know if he really was killed or not. If it is gruesome then the people who don't want to see it turn the T.V off it's simple. I do trust our MILITARY but i do
    Not trust out government right now Obama could be using this just to get popularity back his campaign is in a downward spiral

    May 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
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