Obama Cooling to Idea of Releasing Osama Death Pics

Leon Panetta says yes, Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton say no
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2011 4:00 AM CDT
Updated May 4, 2011 10:15 AM CDT
A Pakistani man reads a newspaper with the front page displaying news of the death of Osama bin Laden at a stall in Lahore on May 3, 2011.    (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Yes, yes, no, who knows? Though CIA Director Leon Panetta indicated photos of a dead Osama bin Laden would likely be released—“I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him”—ABC News is reporting that President Obama is cooling to the idea. He reportedly feels that there's not a compelling need to do so, especially as bin Laden's wife survived and confirmed the death to Navy SEALs and Pakistani officials. And Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton have been sharing their concerns with the president that such a release could, in the words of one official, serve as "a rallying cry for attacks" against the US.

The White House has reportedly received three sets of photos, including one that clearly shows bin Laden's face with a massive open wound across both eyes, a senior administration official tells CNN, adding that the image wouldn't be considered suitable for the front pages of newspapers. News editors, meanwhile, are debating whether they should publish the photos if they are released, the Washington Post notes. "We generally avoid pictures that are gra­tui­tous­ly ghastly," New York Times editor Bill Keller says. "But the key word is ‘gratuitously,’ meaning the images, besides being disturbing, don’t have significant journalistic value. Pictures of Osama bin Laden dead certainly have significant journalistic value." Click here to read about some of the bin Laden conspiracy theories that releasing the photos may help quash.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |