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. Pablo

    He was unarmed ??? So was the people in the World Trade Centers.... where is the justice? He got off easy.

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

    People commenting on bin laden not being armed, well neither were nearly 3,000 innocent victims on Sept. 11, 2001.
    As far as I'm concerned, the headline should not say "bin laden buried at sea", it should say "the murder's body was dumped into the ocean..!!!!"
    Enough of all this talk and discussion on the internet, tv and newspapers. He was a murderer and now he's gone. Let's stop talking about him, he's with Satan like he deserves....
    Let's start talking about good things, Life, Children, Family, – GOD and the lives he has given us, to live together as his children in peace...!!!!

    May 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nolesfan

    unarmed? who cares? Let's move on to the next target! Kill'em all and let God sort them out!

    May 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      You Realize that is exactly what they say don't you? Fighting in the name of god has killed way to many people.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • awaysaway

      It is the whole God/Allah belief thing that caused this mess.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Phil

    "You feed the cat, honey. I'll feed the fish."

    May 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Skipper

    The alternative story was: "He fell on a knife..... nine times." Good riddance; I hope it was slow and painful.

    No US Navy Seal should ever have to buy his own drinks again..... The first round is on me...

    May 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kmam

    This man had to die. His radical followers would have gone to no end to free him if we just took him into custody.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ronnie

    Burial at sea. I don't think bin laden was shot and killed at all. I think that what happened is, he was captured alive and taken away in the helicoper. Once the helicopter was at the maximum height, a door was opened up and he got a navy seal boot or two in the ass that resulted in his burial at sea. Bless those SEALS.

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

      Oh, you mean the same SEALS that accidently or otherwise kill innocent civilians and unarmed suspects? Those SEALS.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Crudhafi

    I've been wondering all along why they didn't shoot him in the leg to prevent him from running. On the other hand, I think potentially lethal force was allowable in a raid like this, where you get in and out quickly and your pursuit is a mass murderer who's still menacing the world. It seems fitting that Bin Laden died as he lived, a renegade, and a trial, in this case, would have been an absurd formality. We kind of gave him more respect by killing him there and then, rather than parading him through a trial and showing off our own court system, with a verdict that would have been forgone because the evidence against him was massive.

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

      And what evidence was that, exactly??? Even the FBI admitted it didn't have enough evidence to officially name him as the perpetrator of the terrorist actions of 9/11.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • SHmichel

      how about the tape he made saying he was responsible

      May 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Reviewer

    Now on to the rest of them no good so-in-so's

    May 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. American Citizen

    I don't like when the government lies.
    Yeah, part of me is happy that bin Laden is dead,
    but, I've long realized that that part of me
    needs a lot of work. The rest of me, that part of me
    that never lets up, wants facts, and only facts.
    Get your brains in order people, and think.

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

      Here's a fact: UBL has a hole in his gord and crabs are eating his eyes out as we speak. Nuff said.

      May 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    bin Laden was not assasinated, he died from a huge hole in his forehead, its a common occurance when you try to bang your head on a high velocity cone of lead wrapped in a full metal jacket of copper!

    May 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Desi

    Pakistan always plays double game.. even with the US, the hand that feeds them against Democratic India.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. khalid

    the stories keep on changing they said he was given an Islamic burial which was translated to Arabic, how could an Islamic burial be in English? after this they omitted the word translate. however it seems that Americans would have no reason to ask for thier dead to be returned.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MichaelOne

    I'm with you. They dumped him out of a helicopter into the sea because the Freshkills landfill was too far.

    Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes.

    May 3, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Miami305

    They wanted him dead or alive, so if he was or wasnt armed it doesnt matter he is sea food as we speak!

    May 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
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