White House Won’t Be Releasing Photo of Bin Laden’s Body

President Obama has told 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft that the White House won't be releasing photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse, CBS reports:

Whitehouse Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Wednesday that the Obama administration should not release the gruesome post-The killing of Osama bin Ladenmortem (sic) images, saying it could complicate the job for American troops overseas. Rogers told CBS News he has seen a post-mortem photo. 

"The risks of release outweigh the benefits," he said. "Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East."

"Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet," he continued. "Osama bin Laden is not a trophy – he is dead and let's now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaida has been eliminated."

The photo is said to be extremely graphic, featuring a bullet wound to the head and exposed brain matter.


  1. ant says

    this is the best decision the administration could make about the pics. their release would not benefit the US in any way – and what the “arab street” can’t see can’t increase tensions there. as for homegrown conspiracy types who don’t believe he’s dead – they wouldn’t anyway even if a pic was released (think birth certificate). I hope the President sticks to this decision.

  2. Darren T. says

    What hypocrite. He was all for releasing photos of flag draped coffins arriving in Dover and also there to support releasing the Iraq prison photos. That wasn’t damaging to the troops moral and putting safety of troops in jeopardy? So funny when your ass is in the senate and there’s a different President than your party you don’t worry about stuff…then when you ass is in the Oval Office it’s time to be sensitive…the DNC needs to run someone else…this guy is a waste.

  3. AUSTIN says

    I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with a Republican Congressman. Justice was served with the killing of Osama, releasing the pictures of his body serve no useful purpose. President Obama is doing the honorable thing and the smart thing.

  4. mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com says

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Darren

    Please, as if you ever did vote for him or ever would

    try peddling your little violin act somewhere else

  5. says


    I’m rather disheartened by the Bloodlust Culture that wants to give in to the ugliest sides of human nature.

    I never viewed, and never will view, the video of Saddam being hanged. I hope others won’t “want” to see the Osama death photos. I hope we move forward as a culture that celebrates peace, not the deaths of admittedly-evil men.

    He’s gone. We’re relieved. I hope people accept this relief and embrace it, and not give in to their feelings of vengeance and negativity.

    Will some conservatives spin this? yes. these people are, though, the scum of America.

    remember nobility.

  6. Chadd says

    For all of those demanding to see photographic proof, I’d like to remind them that nowhere in the US Constitution is there listed a right to see Military Evidence – just as they are so keen to point out that the same Constitution does not guarantee equal rights for LGBT Americans. It goes both ways.

  7. says

    Totally agree with this decision. If proof of OBL’s death is what people need, there has got to be a different way to do that besides showing a gruesome photo of the actual moment. I have no hesitation in saying that I am glad he is dead, but I don’t think we should do anything to inadvertently worsen the conditions for the troops overseas right now.

  8. says

    A smart if unpopular decision. No good came from the publication of JFK’s autopsy photos, or from the endless loop playing of the Zapruder film. No good would come from the publication of OBL’s death photo. It will just stir things up in the Muslim world, and the anti-Obama crowd here would just say it’s a fake. The President is taking a principled stand here.

  9. dk says

    Do not compare a flag draped coffin to OBL. As long as the appropriate members of both parties have seen the photos, then I’m fine with it. The public does not need to see everything and I believe most of this has been fueled by the media because they would love to show these pics every 10 minutes to get a quick ratings boost. I think it’s sick and I’d be glad if no one ever said that man’s name aloud again.

  10. Derrick from Philly says

    “…the DNC needs to run someone else…”

    This President is the DNC. He runs IT.

    I’m still sort of surprised when I run across Gay Archie Bunkers. I never remember seeing them at Gay Pride festivities…but then I haven’t been to Gay Pride stuff in years. Maybe they’ve just started to come out of the closet…wearing polyester.

    “…Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again…didn’t need no
    welfare state…everybody pulled his weight…”

  11. anon says

    Entirely wrongheaded decision. If Bush had said: by the way, we killed bin Laden the other day, just about everyone would demand proof. Now we’ll cede all the ground to conspiracy nuts, religious fanatics and insanity in general. The first rule of bureaucracy is to never throw anything out. Keep a record of everything. Now we basically have nothing. We have nothing to argue with against the inevitable drone of obstreperous opinion mongering.

  12. tranquilo says

    How about inviting the NYT, Al Jazeera, CNN, FOX, etc to look at the photos without cameras, etc? The photos wouldn’t be published and outside partied could verify.

    I am not arguing at all that he isn’t dead. At the same token. the government isn’t exactly always honest and outside verification couldn’t hurt. Think: Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman.

  13. mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com says


    ur point falls short in that REPUBS on the defense and Intelligence committees have seen the photos and the REPUB chair said do not release them

    If bush never showed the pics to dems on the defense and Intelligence committees then you would have a point

  14. Ian says

    Smart decision – however I WOULD show it to every single member of Congress from all parties (eyes only). They could vouch for their constituents if there is any doubt he is really dead.

  15. says

    Obama and Co. are totally classy. Giving the monster a decent burial shows the difference between our values and our enemies’, as does not releasing the photos.
    The hick mob always want to see gore, but this time they’ll have to do without.

  16. Xtab says

    The photos could be sealed and released later for future historians. That would avoid inflaming Islamist hatred and the bloodlust of American nationalists.

  17. Xtab says


    I think you mean dignity, not nobility. Nobility is the divine right of kings and hereditary monarchs. What we need is dignity.

  18. gaga queen of everything says

    That’s not the only meaning, Xtab. Kiwi said it perfectly! dictionary.com: “Noble implies a loftiness of character or spirit that scorns the petty, mean, base, or dishonorable.” Also, m-w.com….

  19. Ash says

    Hey! I want PROOF the boogeyman is dead!! And no rumours he is spotted walking around Singapore somewhere. No “Wag The Dog” B*******. Government and media are the ideal spin-doctors. Why, oh why STOP showing these political images now? After Saddam’s hanging; all the result of people jumping from the WTC. Trust me, I am not a war monger or advocate to unseamley imagery. However.. we waited a decade for this monster. Show me the money, or at least humour me! Post it on a 21+ website then. Al Queada publicized Daniel Pearl’s beheading and many others. And YES…OBL was a trophy! Hell even the President of Pakistan does not claim him… (sorry for typos..I’m just pissed. I lost someone during 9/11) If we can’t have justice…I want the ‘effin’ photo. Trump should go dive for that damn body.

  20. says

    The right decision. Releasing the photos serves no good or constructive purpose. Those who buy into conspiracy theories will certainly not be satisfied with photos. Having photographic (and other) evidence does not mean that everyone has the right to see it.

  21. mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com says


    “…Al Queada publicized Daniel Pearl’s beheading and many others…”

    EXACTLY why we shouldn’t post the pics. America despite all her faults (and they are many) at least tries to better

  22. Danny says

    it sickens me how quickly a spirt of mean pettiness infects discussion threads on this blog. You’d think that gay men were the most small-minded, petty little m0th*r-f**kers in the whole world from how quckly these threads degenerate into the nastiest, most snide b*tching and name-calling.


  23. Phil says

    Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers is willing to act as a witness and verify that he’s seen the bin Laden photos in order to debunk any conspiracy theories that the far right might spin. This shows that anti-gay Republicans can be brought to heel, and it’s gratifying when they are. (Check Roger’s anti-gay voting record.)

    @ Darren T: Regarding your quote, “the DNC needs to run someone else…this guy is a waste.” A sitting president is the de facto leader of his party, and by extension, of the Democratic or Republican national committees. Whatever it is you’re smoking, it must be primo quality.

  24. OMNOMNOM says

    I am not a Republican. I’m not trying to discredit the Obama administration either. All I’m saying is that it’s extremely suspicious and convenient that the US claims to have killed OBL, but offers no proof whatsoever. Perhaps releasing the photo would not have been the best choice, but sweeping this all under the table so quickly was surely not smart either.

    By the way, I killed an alien last night. Instead of inciting an invasion by displaying the body, I dumped it into the deep, unexplorable abyss of the sea. No, really. It happened.

  25. says

    ” . . . extremely suspicious and convenient that the US claims to have killed OBL, but offers no proof whatsoever.”

    Who says there isn’t ample proof? Just because the proof is not being offered up to you, me, and a world full of gawkers does not mean it doesn’t exist. Photos released to the entire world would not offer anything beyond bloodlust. If Osama is still alive, as some conspiracists will insist, he should now have ample opportunity to offer proof of it himself.

  26. OMNOMNOM says

    I just said there isn’t ample proof. Otherwise, the rational thinkers (like myself) and conspiracy theorists wouldn’t have anything to question. Why was Saddam different? He wasn’t Enemy #1 and he wasn’t responsible for 9/11, but the world still saw him hanged. For the record, I never suggested OBL is still alive. I just said the world needs proof.

  27. ratbastard says


    When will it be possible to criticize or God forbid dislike a non-white [male] president or other so-called leader and not be called racist, or some other ‘cist’ ? Anybody who criticizes President Obama is ‘Archie Bunker’? Are you effing serious?


    The saccharine posts here by people who would rip Bush a new ahole if he was president and doing the exact same thing President Obama is now doing, is beyond lame.

    This whole story reeks, and the truth will undoubtedly eventually come out, like the Pat Tillman debacle, or Jessica Lynch. The inability of authorities to give solid proof Osama was still alive and killed by SEALS is very dubious no matter how you look at it.

  28. ratbastard says


    wow…someone says something contrary to your POV, and you post they must ‘Drink’. wow….

    Your other post about nastiness doesn’t require a response. Your words and posts speak for themselves. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re being sarcastic and have a really dry sense of humor

  29. says

    Releasing a photo of Osama’s body and shot-up face would not offer substantial proof of anything (as if the non-believers would be convinced by photos that could easily be doctored); it would accomplish nothing useful. There are better ways to offer proof, should they decide to do so, but certainly they’re under no obligation to convince every citizen of the world that Osama is dead.

    There is high-level bipartisan satisfaction that Osama was killed by our military forces; it is doubtful Obama’s Republican opponents would be so naive as to swallow a concocted story with the 2012 presidential race around the corner and Obama’s poll numbers getting a big boost from this. But if anyone has proof that Osama’s death happened otherwise or that he’s still alive, I’m sure the world press would welcome it. If you’re still kickin’, O, make a tape!

  30. ratbastard says

    Actually, President Obama received no boost from this incident. Gallop shows 48% are satisfied with his performance as president. But percentage-wise, a lot more are strongly dissatisfied than are very satisfied.

  31. says

    “Actually, President Obama received no boost from this incident.”

    Actually, he did. His poll numbers are up 11 points from last month, currently at well over 50 percent. The decision not to release the photographs, a wise one given that they would serve no positive purpose, has nothing to do with the poll numbers. But if high-level Republicans, including the weak 2012 presidential field, had any doubts about the demise of Osama, they would not be allowing Obama this political and moral victory. The Republican reaction is more proof that Osama was killed than any gruesome photos would be.

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