Unseen Photos Show Obama, Aides During bin Laden Raid

'Washington Post' obtains previously unreleased images from May 1, 2011
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2023 2:50 PM CDT
Photos Capture White House During Obama's bin Laden Raid
The White House Situation Room on May 1, 2011.   (White House photo)

As May 1, 2011, arrived—the day when the US was planning to carry out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan—cameras installed in the White House Situation Room were turned off. But the official photographers in President Barack Obama's White House kept shooting. Those photos, showing the tension and eventual celebration among the president, his staff, and Pentagon leaders, have never been available to the public. Then, more than a year ago, the Washington Post filed Freedom of Information Act and the Presidential Records Act requests with the Obama Presidential Library for those official photos.

After 376 days, the library delivered a 161-page PDF of thumbnails for every photo taken at the White House between May 1 and 3, 2011. The photos lacked time stamps, captions, or the original metadata attached to them. The Post selected the ones it wanted from the original 900 and received back high-resolution versions with time stamps. It's published 23 of them here, accompanied by information from an oral history and Obama's book, A Promised Land. A selection is attached to this file. (More President Obama stories.)

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