Will bin Laden death image silence doubters or fan flames?
A passer-by looks at newspapers reporting the death of Osama bin Laden.
May 3rd, 2011
12:56 PM ET

Will bin Laden death image silence doubters or fan flames?

While the White House and the CIA deliberate whether to release a photo of Osama bin Laden's body, there's debate outside the White House on what impact such graphic images might have.

A key counterterrorism adviser to President Barack Obama said that if the White House does decide to release images, it wants to do it in a "thoughtful manner."

"We also want to anticipate what the reaction might be on the part of al Qaeda or others to the release of certain information so that we can take the appropriate steps beforehand," John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, said on CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday. "So any other material, whether it be photos or videos or whatever else, we are looking at it and will make the appropriate decisions."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, said he was conflicted over whether the administration should release an image of bin Laden.

"It's something that we're gonna have to work through," Rogers said. "We want to make sure that we maintain dignity, if there was any, in Osama bin Laden, so that we don't inflame problems other places in the world, and still provide enough evidence that people are confident that it was Osama bin Laden."

A senior government official involved in the discussions told CNN's John King that the photo release "could" come Tuesday by the CIA, adding that no decision has been made at the White House.

A government official familiar with intelligence matters says deliberations are leaning toward release and said that there is "growing consensus" to release the photo but emphasizes, "it isn't unanimous and everyone has understandable hesitation."

A senior U.S. official told CNN's Jessica Yellin that the photos were taken at a hangar in Afghanistan. The official described it as a clear picture of bin Laden's face, but he has a massive open head wound across both eyes.

Emad El-Din Shahin, a professor of religion at the University of Notre Dame, said the administration is in a "tough situation."

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • September 11 • Terrorism
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Jazzzzzzzzzz

    Ok, so this must be the comander asking us NOT cnn. Well yes it would help me. But we all know there is technical imagery that can fake ANYTHING. so I suggest you save it. You should have showed us the body LIVE on tv, internet and so on. Just dont about this one.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lucy

    I do think there are those who will be satisfied with a death picture of ObL. And there are those who will never believe it, just like the Apostle Thomas. Unfortunately, ObL's body has been buried at sea, or there would be people demanding to poke their fingers through the bullet wounds. I saw a picture. I'm satisfied. Others will not be, and want to believe otherwise, which is fine, also.
    Same as it ever was.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. im smart

    Who cares? why dont you post your body on the net then we can debate if it is you or not. .get a life outside the box

    May 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Justin

    I think that if the family members of those affected by 9/11 wish to see photos. Photos should be released. I think that the photos will help with closure not just for the victims, but also for our country as a whole.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Riff*Raff

    Why would anyone want to see someone's head blown apart? How would you recognize him anyway? He has a bullet hole between his eyes for cripes sake! I've had the video sent from an Army friend in Kandahar. I have no desire to see/watch. This is not the movies. I am fine w/knowing he is dead. No graphics necessary.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • momof6

      A single bullet shot to the head , in the movies we see more blood n guts etc , damn look back at when they choped the 3 guys heads off was posted all over the net etc , the hanging of sadam was all over the media as well as the net , im not saying hes not dead but makes us wounder if he really is for the simple fact they have said it before osama is dead , , and as for your friend in the military that sent u pics of him makes it hard to belive unless he was one of the ones there that did the raid on the compound , or was on the ship that his body was on , n e one can go to the net and have a pic downloaded onto there phone and foward it all over saying its osama , we as americans want to belive he is dead but we also would like solid proof , a death certificate is not proof n e one can pay for fake look alikes on stuff like that , and photos well can be doctored up . Were not sick or morbed pepole we just want to see the actuall body

      May 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. who knows

    let's see it. saddam was taped being killed.........

    May 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben Alcobra

      That was an unauthorized leak. Doesn't apply.

      May 3, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. momof6

    THe body would of been nice for the world to see,Sadam had the luxury of being seen on tv for his final breaths for all to see , so everyone belives he is gone , but with osama its hard for n e one to belive he is actually gone , body identified by one of his many wifes , common ladys family is probaly living the high life her parents etc , she was probaly told if they capture so n so say its osama and your parents will be safe , thers alot of doubts in the americans minds as well as over the world that osama is dead , we want footage not edited pictures etc .
    and yes we americans do have a heart , but y the burial at sea so soon , that can be a osama look alike , did osama or his followers follow our traditions of burials , no so why give him the dignity of the musslim traditonla burial etc
    Come on SHOW THE AMERICANS THE BODY AND MAYBE WE WILL BELIVE , instead of putting the thoughts in our heads the Pres Obama is saying that Osama is dead so that he can hopefully stay in the white house another 4 yrs

    May 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dingsdong


    May 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dingsdong

    Cant wait for the fallout on this blatant attack on a man who killed nobody! where is the proof he did wrong? bush? ha! he was behind wtc attacks! tsk tsk

    May 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • momof6

      He may not of killed n e one personally but his followers did , at his command there for he is as quilty of murder etc as the one who pulled the triger , crashed the planes , cut off heads , etc

      May 3, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Common Sense

    Sure, a picture would help some people, but honestly it's not needed. If ObL wasn't dead, then Al Qaeda would be denying it and probably rushing to make a video of him with his middle finger up at the world. It's been confirmed by his own. The people need to stop looking for every possibilty to complain and disagree. If they decide to release it, go for it. If not, oh well. I used simple logic to determine my opinion, it won't change whether or not they decide to release it.


    A Proud American Soldier

    May 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. vod kanockers


    May 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Riff*Raff

    Hasnt the DNA been tested? As to that timeframe, Im pretty sure the CIA-whomever-has whatever means necessary at their disposal to test whatever wherever they may be. We're the best,right? I doubt Obama called every leader in the free world on a Sunday night including GWB 18 mos before the election to tell a huge LIE! If he's that much of a liar, wouldn't he have waited til Oct 2012 and use it to his benefit? His being The Manchurian Candidate and all?

    May 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jj

    whats the big deal if they release the photos? he was a monster and should be treated as such. screw the nut job jihadists and their feelings! how many times have we seen them cut off our peoples heads? let the world see that we dont give a dam @ being politically correct FOR ONCE please

    May 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lucy

    @momof6: to say our President is using this to get re-elected is denying what our military and especially the Navy Seal 6 did for our country. It's disingenuous. Shame on you.

    @dingsdong: yes, I've heard the same thing...and it's just paranoia conspiracy theorist garbage. Thanks for helping feed into it.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lucy

    @jj: I am sure there will be photos realeased eventually to the mainstream media Look this up:


    I saw this yesterday. I'm convinced.

    May 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben Alcobra

      That's a photoshop fake that's been circulating on the internet since Bush was president. It's old news.

      May 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
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