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. MDDon

    The question is why was it necessary to shoot OBL, as evil as he was, when he was unarmed.? That changes the whole picture. I can understand not wanting to go through the legal hassle which should lead to capital punishment anyway, but we have a moral code against shooting and unarmed person. Because he was an animal shouldn't make us stoop to his level.

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

      If he was, by all reguard, seen as a rabid animal - Putting him down was the right thing to do to protect others.

      May 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Eric X

    The death of any unarmed individual alarms me, and I may have to take exception in this situation, but it still makes my flesh crawl. If you engage in any form of terrorism (domestic or foreign), you need to make peace with you maker. We need to find some of the extreme organizations in the USA, and send the navy seals in for demolition.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Yeah. No kidding.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abdul La Moola

      My assessment? The chump was pumped, slumped and then dumped. Go Seals!

      May 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • dshoup

      How can you be alarmed that an unarmed mass murderer was killed, and then advocate for violent action against Americans?

      May 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Unarmed does not equal not-dangerous.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      2936.......2936 unarmed Americans died a HIDEOUS, MORTIFYING, AND TRAGIC DEATH ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001. And none of them – NOT A SINGLE ONE – Did ANYTHING to deserve that fate either.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      I'm confused. The killing of an unarmed terrorist alarms you but raiding the homes of US citizens to kill them (apparently only the ones exercising their 2nd amendment rights) does not.

      Incongruent comments from Americans alarm me.

      Does it alarm you that some of the poorest US citizens pay 15% in income taxes while Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009 and not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings?

      I'm guessing that it doesn't.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sickpnai

    We don't even know if it was Bin Laden, there is no proof who those people were in that mansion..they could have been ordinary plant. As far as I know it's not Bin Laden, the furious, the terror, the evil, not the kind I would assume who killed thousand and thousand of people. With the billion of dollars the US govt. has spent on Pakistani kickbacks, so what do you think of the million dollars mansion you purchased in Pakistan? why no guards? oh! we don't want any Pakistani killed!

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

      @Sickpani: Say what.

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

      Oh excuse me, I said that wrong, please say "What."

      May 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Schweitzer

      Is he a complete idiot? Scary how many morons are out there. I really don't care if bin laden had a gun or a toothbrush when the SEALS arrived. His time was up. There is a tiny bit of difference between killing 3000 plus civilians to "make a point" and killing the terrorist who planned the attack. If the muslim terrorists and fanatics want peace they might consider living in peace with their neighbors. Until then, expect military repercussions from those whom the terrorists are attacking. The US would not have been in Iraq had Iraq not invaded Kuwait, nor in Afghanistan if the taliban hadn't held hands with Osama. There really is a bit of justification between military reaction and terrorist acts. If a flea scratches the elephant to long it will get swatted by the trunk.

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

      To Michael Schweitzer:

      "Is he a complete idiot?"

      Really? He's saying that he doesn't believe it was him, not that he didn't deserve to die. Please Michael, read and understand the post before you slang insults.

      The only people who are idiots are the ones that think they "know" anything at all. It may not have been Bin Laden. There is plenty of reason for the government to lie. I believe that it was Bin Laden....but I could be swayed the other way by evidence. I would at least LISTEN to evidence before forming, and worse, SPEWING, my opinion.

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

      Why is the US gov sending money to Pakistan? We are paying off Pakistan to hide OBL. Why are there Pic from the sky to from 2005 showing the house location? The US gov Is telling the people the pic are so gruesome, Just look at the news in New York City Oh the blood, gore, and death. The picks of war are just as bloody. We as Americans Have be exposed to this type of blood and gore since the fiftys and beyond. The people are just to weak minded to believe, The US gov keeps telling the people ever thing ok and all is well don't worry.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RichardSRussell

    Navy SEAL (in English): If you would like me to shoot you in the head, please say "What?".

    Bin Laden: What?

    Gun: Bang.

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

      Yeah, that seems reasonable for a man like Bin Laden. Nuff said about that. 🙂

      May 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rad

    he was unarmed?? so weren't the thousands of people in the WTC buildings......................

    May 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nick

    All the people that died in the twin towers were unarmed also!!!!!!!!!

    May 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kae

    Who cares if he was not armed. I'm just glad he was taken down.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TheyTookOurJobs

    I thought the initial story sounded a little fishy. Why would anyone clearing a small room like that have their weapons on semi-auto? One to the chest and one to the head? My theory has always been that he tried to surrender but was assassinated anyway. And rightly so. So much better dead than on trial, which we would have to pay for. I've got to hand it to Obama. It was absolutely flawless and took some serious balls. To not inform the Pakistanis, then land American troops only a few hundred meters from a military training center, and then presumably give the go ahead to execute him, even if he tried to surrender. Finally a democratic president who acts like a man.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • dshoup

      Obama sat in a room and watched on TV. He was no hero. He did what any president in their right mind would have done. The SEALS have the "balls".

      May 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheyTookOurJobs

      Noone called him a hero. Obviously the SEALS had the more dangerous job. But to deny that it took some serious guts to make the call means you're in denial.

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

      I could not imagine him NOT making that decision. He would have been a fool to do anything else.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      Yes – I share much of your same opinions. I am a life Republican, but I must say that Obama displayed some major balls and leadership on this call. Enter Pakistan airspace / soil for a special ops mission using a fairly large amount of military assets w/o informing Pakistan, counting on the SEALs doing a perfect job of IDing the enemy in an unfamiliar and dark environment with 8-10 children in the building, and then killing OBL when he is totally unarmed and in front of one of his kids. Wow! Don’t get me wrong. The SEALs are in a class by themselves and the CIA has always been the best intel agency in the world. And taking him alive would have resulted in a legal circus that would have taken longer than it took to ultimately find him. But we haven’t used assassination squads since probably the Bay of Pigs. And Obama knows the world may ultimately challenge him on the legality of the mission. Never the less, way to go SEALs, CIA the Administration and USA. And finally hopeful closure for the families who were victims of all al Qaeda atrocities. Now, if gasoline was $3.00 / gallon, unemployment at 4% and inflation kept to under 2%, I might vote for Obama in 2012!

      May 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • LCCatFan

      It took no guts on BHO's part. His poll ratings were plummeting and he had nothing to lose. It was the only option the Muslim in Chief had.

      May 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • JClark

      @TheyTook: I agree, with one exception. I don't believe there's a snowball's chance in hell bin Laden tried to surrender. He's always made it clear he would never do that. He pulled an innocent (well...debatable) woman in front of him and probably lunged toward...something...a gun? Who knows? Who cares? My gut just says no way did he try to surrender.

      May 4, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. sixoh

    They threw Osama kto Davey Jones' locker!
    "Yo ho and up she rises! Yo ho and up she rises! Yo ho and up she rises ear-lie in the mor-nin'!"

    May 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tchirn

      With a mind such as yours as well as the many other inanane comments made by others with like minds found on this blog, it is no wonder that the world considers us dumb, stupid Americans.

      May 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sam

    Did Bohner really say the president should have consulted congress before getting bin laden. If so, he must be nuts. Last time someone was consulted, bin laden got away in Sudan. Then again in Tora Bora. Yea right, consult congress so it could be leaked to the whole world and he would get away again.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cvf

    Confusing. He was or was not armed?

    May 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Doesn't really matter...he's now dead.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. emmanuel goldstein

    Americans invade a sovereign nation, storm a private residence and execute an unarmed tourist.

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

      tourist? Really? And frankly, unarmed or armed in this case is irrelevant. bin Laden fit in the same category as Hitler and Mussolini. Some people just need to be taken out.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      Something tells me Goldstein's real name is Mohamed....

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

      No they didn't....They executed a crucial military operative against a worldwide mass murderer who existed incognito. He couldn't have been a tourist because Pakistan claims they didn't even know he was in the country. Why don't you go complain to the families at Ground Zero and let me know how that works out for you.

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

      @Goldstein, your comment is like saying Hitler was a friend to the Jews. Sounds outrageous, doesn't it?

      May 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. WarEagle

    OSB died of heart failure. It's a common result of being shot in the head.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Madtown


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

    then, "...said bin Laden was resisting and had a weapon"

    May 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • @Madtown

      Re-read clearly...

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

      Try reading the article again, slowly... Those statements were attributed to two different people, at different times. Apparently one was wrong, not really unusual when they're still trying to verify the facts in the case.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Iamnotfooled

    Why do we even care if he was armed or not? Our Navy Seals lives were top priority. It was dark when they entered the room, they did not know if he had a gun or not until after he was shot. Were the 3,000 souls at Ground Zero armed? Think about that.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
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