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People At Ground Zero Debate Whether Bin Laden Photo Should Be Released

Professor: America's Image Would Be Tarnished By Images

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As officials in the Obama administration continue to debate whether or not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s killing at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs, the issue was being widely debated at ground zero on Tuesday.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane With Reaction In Midtown

Of all the images seen of bin Laden in the days since his death, there is one that remains tightly under wraps and for many is the most sought after one.

The White House confirms two sets of bin Laden pictures — graphically showing a gunshot to the head — exist. However, because the government buried the Al Qaeda leader at sea to prevent a shrine in his honor, there is a growing push for photographic proof.

“Personally I think they should release the photo and put it to rest,” Vincent Merry of Crown Heights told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.

At ground zero — considered by many to be hallowed ground where nearly 3,000 innocent souls perished under bin Laden’s master plan — some are demanding to see proof of the Al Qaeda leader’s death.

“I think people want to see them,” one woman said.

It is a sensitive issue for the Obama administration, which is still considering whether to release the photo. They are trying to balance the gruesome nature of the picture and the reaction it might cause. There is demand from some circles to see it as final proof bin Laden was killed and that he is gone for good.

“Yeah, most people want to see that he’s completely dead,” Dana Baskerville of Bayonne, N.J. said.

“If you release the pictures, it will serve as evidence,” said Pamela Geller, Executive Director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative told CBS 2’s Derrick Dennis.  “I vehemently disagree that we should subjugate ourselves because it might hurt the sensibilities of the people that want to kill us.”

Other people’s opinions on the issue were more varied.

“I would lean towards not releasing it. I think it is going to incite a lot of anger,” Melissa Lemos of Carroll Gardens said.

Ghassan Shabaneh, an Islamic studies professor at Marymount Manhattan College, said going public with pictures of bin Laden’s body would tarnish the United States.

“Many Muslims around the globe look at the United States as the beacon of human rights and values and when the United States allows itself to go and do such a thing like this, this hurts the image of the United States,” Shabaneh said.

“It’s a hard decision and it can inflame people. And it can be seen as disrespectful to the Muslim culture,” John Delibero said.

“I think they should hang him by the crane…is what I think. And let everyone see him dead,” Frankie Sturiano said.

On Tuesday evening, CIA Director Leon Panetta said in a broadcast report that the photo would “ultimately be presented to the public.”

SOUND-OFF: Should the photos be released?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

More from Paul Murnane

One Comment

  1. . says:

    YUSUFALI: Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord;

    PICKTHAL: Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision.

    SHAKIR: And reckon not those who are killed in Allah’s way as dead; nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord;


    YUSUFALI: They rejoice in the bounty provided by Allah: And with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them (in their bliss), the (Martyrs) glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve.

    PICKTHAL: Jubilant (are they) because of that which Allah hath bestowed upon them of His bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not joined them but are left behind: That there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.

    SHAKIR: Rejoicing in what Allah has given them out of His grace and they rejoice for the sake of those who, (being left) behind them, have not yet joined them, that they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.

    1. A Muslim says:

      I hope you’re not putting Osama Bin Laden in the same cetegory as those who are ‘killed in Allah’s way’ , friend. If you are, you’re crazy. The Allah I worship don’t order the killing of thousands of innocent people. You know who did? crazy, hateful people using our religion as an excuse.

    2. A Muslim says:

      I hope you’re not putting Osama Bin Laden in the same category as those who are ‘killed in Allah’s way’ , friend. If you are, you’re crazy. The Allah I worship don’t order the killing of thousands of innocent people. You know who did? crazy, hateful people using our religion as an excuse.


    On Sept 11 that animal didn’t give the thousands of people he murdered a choice. He didn’t give their families who had to hopefully claim their loved ones bodies the choice. He caused mass destruction..HE SHOULD NOT HAVE A CHOICE..THE PEOPLE WANT TO SEE..HIS HEAD ON A PLATTER OR HIS GUTS IN A BOWL..WE WANT TO SEE, MAKE US ALL BELIEVERS. WE NEED CLOSURE TO THIS HORRIFIC TRAGEDY.


  3. American says:


  4. American says:


  5. Black Pride says:

    Bush (white man) couldn’t do it….. Obama finally did it….4 more years!!!

  6. . says:

    We should demand a 9/11 investigations!!! And demand to put the Bushs and the rest of their tentacles of horror in stand. The people must be the jury!!!

    Enough with the Patriot Act!!! We know what it was truly it was for!!!

    Under that… Bush became the most powerful man in USA. Shame on you Bush!!!

    However, all you dark cabals days are numbered. Your reigning glory days are numbered.

    We can these dark cabals… YOUR FIRED!!!!

    We know who you are.

    1. A Muslim says:

      Seriously, I can’t understand what you are talking about.

  7. . says:

    Bush declines Obama’s invitation to “Ground Zero”

  8. blake9hung says:

    If he’s naked I wanna see the Pic !!

    1. Osama Bin Laden says:

      Do these bullet holes make me look fat?

  9. john yonna says:

    What special is Osama .He killed 3,000 people of more value and importance than him. If you value him as the most highly classified person than anyone living on the world leave out his pictures.If it means fighting people are ready to fight.Americans what wrong with you .Why did you bury him .We all wanted him dead or alive.His believe should not dictate the world.Killing all those people ,now you are fearing the corpse:s photo.

  10. Vincenzo says:

    I know that the guy was a terrible men on earth and deserved NOT to be born on this planet .


    Just can’t believe that there are so many “Loving Christians” and spiritual loving people on this planet chering “DETH”. and i don’t care who is the target

    Is that what the Bible or any other Loving Spiritual Teaching promote’s?


  11. Chuck says:

    It is typical to have doubts about any piece of news, and much stronger in this case. Very similar to denials of Elvis Presley’s death, the nature of JFK’s conspiracy, men landing on the moon, the spherical nature of planets, the universe rotating around the Earth, and other facts which are conclusively proved.

    People will demand the photos. And when the photos are shown, they WILL find as many items of doubt as necessary to keep the uncertainty and confusion going. It’s part and parcel of the confusion that oppresses the entire human race.

  12. . says:


    42. Why were the Black Boxes never recovered ?

    43. Why didn’t the FBI release the air traffic controller’s protocols?

    44. Why did the FBI not release the Flight Data Recorder info?


    45. How did the FBI receive a tip from a passenger who boarded a different plane and reached his destination safely that he had a confrontation with two ME men at the Logan airport in Boston?

    46. Who tipped the FBI to storm the Westin Hotel in Boston on September 12th?

    47. Where did the photos of all 19 hijackers come from?

    48. How were all hijackers identified just 2 days after the attack?

    1. . says:

      49. Who left that cake out in the rain?

  13. . says:

    U.S. says bin Laden photo “gruesome,” weighs release

  14. . says:


  15. ?? says:

    i think they should show the pics, just to give the people who lost family/friends on 9/11 closure

  16. . says:

    Politicians and Diapers…
    They both need to be Changed for the Same Reason.

  17. Mike Respall says:

    You have to admit that US credibility when it comes to foreign policy is not what itt used to be, so I guess a genuine photo or photos proving he was really killed will convince everybody that he is in fact already dead.

  18. . says:


    1. MRS. I. UNDERSTAND says:


  19. Acuity says:

    No one needs to believe the US Government.
    If the government was lying, Osama would be coming out with pictures of himself ALIVE to taunt the US.

    1. P.E.R says:

      Good point

  20. Philip says:

    Bottom line boils down to.. Do you believe the American Government?? I am American, and will say straight out.. NO.. I do not believe what they tell me, and as a responsible citizen, should not just believe what I am told.. They should have to produce irrefutable evidence for their citizens and people.. How many times in the past , has the government been proven to tell lies.. So if you have a bad record, then do not expect to be trusted.. I do not trust, and want to see some proof..

    For the excuse it might cause reprisals.. The ones who hated us before, and want us dead, will still hate us and want us dead. Pics, videos, or anything else will not change that.. Next, the image of America in Muslim eyes.. Again, the pics, videos, or anything will not change that either.. So time to put away all the excuses, and show America and the rest of the world what we been waiting 10 years to see..

    1. A Muslim says:

      Uh…pics, videos, and stuff like that CAN change all that. They can make it WORSE. That’s why your government is thinking it over right now, because they’re worried of the repercussion from extremists around the world if they go ahead with it. Because face it, people are dumb, and extremists, doubly so. I imagine a government have to think about its citizens abroad and stuff like that, not just the ones inside the country. In my opinion your president shows better judgment in thinking it through first. Your genius previous president and his people would’ve acted without thinking and who knows what might happen. The photos might still be released eventually anyway, they’re probably just thinking about how to go about it in a way that prevent any unwanted repercussions.

    2. . says:

      I can’t believe it’s not butter!

  21. John says:

    The world may have got rid of Bin Laden . But has it ? . My feelings are that his off springs and those that were around him will avenge his death .

    Yet we have lost our brothers and sisters at the 9/11 massacre .

    An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth .

    Bin Laden`s kind think like camels do .

    If any one wishes to know how camels think please dont hestitate . write me an email and I will tell you .,

    1. Camel fan says:

      I am in awe of your masterful knowledge of camels.

  22. chancey says:

    If the Taliban and other sympathizers claim that Osama is still alive and kicking, let Osama produce a brand new video in which he must talk about the recent event.As simple as that.

  23. Muhammad Ashrafuzzaman says:

    Bin Ladens followers will go on killing innocent people in the name of Islam whether or not the concerned pics are released. US imperialism will be the gainer anyway.

  24. Mitchell says:

    Even if they release a photo, skeptics will still abound….With photo shop, anything is possible these days in the world of photos….

  25. daudi mwenda says:

    Does the death of a man amount to justice and is it not absurd for civilized men to celebrate the death of a fellow man? Granted Osama Bin Laden certainly did not epitomize the neighbor next door and is alleged to have committed some horrendous crimes against humanity. His very image represented the face of terrorism, yet he was primarily a man, with the right to life and certain Constitutional rights. The US Navy Seals would have done well to capture him alive, hand him over for prosecution for crimes against humanity and make him an example to deter all other like minded persons now or in future. They missed the opportunity and granted him a dignified exit. “He died fighting like a man” his fanatics will state sooner or later!

    1. Michel Lanfrey says:

      Your approach is too “democratic”?we just need to show the pics since so many Muslims are on permanent denial of evidences.For the rest dead or alive OBL was dangerous, since fanatics would have wanted to recuperate the body and a shrine was also too dangerous; the guy deserved to disappear for good.Michel Lanfrey.Dar es Salaam.Tanzania

  26. Honest says:

    “Stooping down to their level”

  27. nathan says:

    it would be a sensitive issue of course but couldnt they exibit the photos like say at the white house that way anyone that wants to view the photos would have to go to such a place and view them first hand.that way they would eliminate any possiblilty of the pictures circulating on the internet.i doubt there would be any islamic extremeist that would go to the white house and be on survielance to view the photos but i am sure many american people would take the trip to view it.

    1. zeke says:

      A very good idea. I’m an American living in Brazil and most likely would never make it to D.C. But still, you have an excellent idea… GOOD FOR YOU!!!

    2. Gerry Damato says:

      I think that copies of the photo should be available to anyone who wants to see them thoughout the USA, and at a small charge. This could be done at a local movie theater, for example: Post a warning sign that, prior to the main feature, the photo with bin Laden (dead) and a bullet in his head with a few good words of commentary from those who serve, will be presented. No cameras allowed!Then anyone who doesn’t want to see the photo doesn’t have to. Half the proceeds could go towards the betterment of the lives of those permanently injured by the 9/11 attacks, and the other half could go against the Gross Federal Debt. What do you think?

    3. P.E.R says:

      Very good idea, if only white house advisors will see this comment

      1. P.E.R says:

        My reply was to nathan’s good idea

    4. P.E.R says:

      Very good idea, if only the white house advisors could see this comment

  28. Gushka says:

    Obama is a liar, and con artist, running a game on gulible americans. Osama been dead a long time. Obama and his conspirators are trying to get his rating higher, cover up his fraud with the birth certificate, hide the economy problems, and get votes for 2012. Obama and his whole administration are wicked evil NWO clowns destined by Yahweh to the eternal lake of fire.

  29. Gushka says:

    It’s a con job by Obama and his NWO criminal buddies.

  30. DeWitt says:

    Of course the photos should be shown! If they’re too graphic the wounds can be pixelated out. Who gives a damn about Muslim sensibilites anyway? They danced in the street on 9/11 and we’re dancing now! Why was he given a Muslim burial, too? How many 9/11 victims never got any burial at all? He should have been mounted on the mast at the top of the Empire State Building and left to rot!

    1. Honest says:

      The ones that danced on the streets were only the hardcore anti-american palestinians. We, the muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia mostly watched in horror as the towers collapsed. USA isn’t my country but I have spent a great 6 formative years – I respect your country as much as anything. I met my wife in the States and I’ve gained a degree, as well as many friends there. But if you clump all muslims in one generalization, I think you’re no better than those muslims dancing on the streets almost 10 years ago.

      1. P.E.R says:

        Well said

  31. Leon Hall says:

    I understand that many people want to see this mass murderer’s death picture. But we are supposed to be better than that as a country and as a people. It serves no realistic purpose. Leaving nothing out there is better then giving Bin Ladens followers something tangible to hold on to and use as some rallying cry against us. As for the victims, nothing changes. Our loved ones are still lost and no picture of a dead Bin Laden will change that.

    1. Arif says:

      I agree totally with commenter Leon Hall. If you are an American, Leon, I hope more people in your country think as maturely as you do. America needs to show itself as the bigger nation, not in size/power, but in heart, and combat the negative stereotypes that people from other countries have of it and its people. Maybe if assurance is really needed, they can show the hard-copy photos to selected members of the American people, maybe family members of the 9/11 victims, and don’t allow them to bring any recording device whatsoever. But don’t make it a public spectacle, for reasons you stated.

    2. Yogi says:

      Gushka, If Osama bin Laden is long dead, why didn’t the Bush’s administration take credit for it?

      Well said, Leon! In addition, didn’t enough people in Afganistan, Irak, and Pakistan already been dead since? Will we ever know how many?

  32. schmoo says:

    “Relased”? FAIL journalism!

    1. schmoo says:

      Thank you for correcting your spelling in the title, 1010WINS.

  33. D says:

    they don’t and never will care about our feelings we were bold enough to go and get him weren’t we? what about now? a Muslim was NOT killed but a pashto Hitler was. when will we accept that
    they will only stop when we convert to their religion
    or after they totally destroy us in the name of their god.

  34. geez weez says:

    If the gov wants a closure on this issue. They should have a video of his death in all angles and the corpse completely shot up like what obama said. Well if they want the truth, just give them the damn truth. After all, the truth does hurt you know.

    1. Yogi says:

      I wonder why so many of you want to see blood, blood, blood? Shouldn’t we be bigger and better human being than these people are? Sometimes I wonder!!!

  35. Joe says:

    I smelled and watch the towers burn for days! I want to see pictures of him with a bullet through his head. My only wish is that he knew they were American miltary men that were killing him. He ruined so many lives that awful day

  36. Brighthenz Parksonwright says:

    well i can see the extremists in the united states of America, the God blessed country are totally ungrateful to God in the President Obama’s good job in bringing down the inhuman nature innocent killer, O.B.L. therefore I would personally urged Sarah Paulin and fans, to be admitted in any Psychiatric Hospitals in the united states , to inculcate more good memory and senses into them.
    Sarah Paulin isn’t fit to be a president of America, she is a PETTY Period.

    1. gen wildemann says:

      totally agree

  37. Pete Peterson says:

    Good lord people, Bush, Obama, Obama, Bush, what difference does itr make? We got him is all that matters. It won’t get anyone elected either by election time there will be a lot more to think about than who got Osama. His body was fed to the sharks and we can’t change that either. There is no one fool enough to claim he’s dead when if he isn’t he will easily prove that to the world on video so he’s dead and everyoen iinvolved from beginning to end should have some credit. Most of all the men that went in after him and not Obama, not bush, not the CIA or secretary of defense, the men who took him on should be praised and collect the reward too.

  38. wootieup says:

    I think the photo should be released. The attack on the Twin Towers was publicized and shown for all the world to see…thousands of people were dying while everybody watched. Wouldn’t it do them a little bit of justice to show that the person responsible finally came to his end?

  39. Roy says:

    I beleive that two bullets placed into his head would be a gruesome unidentifiable photo and serve no real purpose other than to aggravate some radicals. The ooner we forget him the better.

  40. disbeliever says:

    obama is not black as black pride contnds he is mulatto-half black-half white. he certainly has no respect or regard for his white mother or grandparents by denying his ancestry. as for ossa, obama should release the photos and video so we all know he is truly dead. with obama’s track record of not always telling the truth, he needs to show proof. why the rush to dump the body? was it really osama? why doesn’t he give more credit to the seals. much of the ingo leading to getting ossama was gathered during the bush administration. he obaama so small and insecure that he can’t share the credit. this will certainly not influence me to vote for him in 2012

    1. badman says:

      frickin muddle headed wierdo

  41. lia says:

    i’m surprised we haven’t heard from greenpeace yet….we’re contaminaating the oceans!!!!!!!

  42. Edwin Loveland says:

    Did anyone consider exhibiting the body on ground zero as a closure?

  43. kevin says:

    I have the highest regard for the U.S. Navy Seals. get one who was on the raid and ask him if it was O.B.L., says yes, I will beleive him b/4 I will beleive any one in Wash

    Replace a POLITICIAN with a NAVY SEAL

  44. Edwin Loveland says:

    Did anyone consider exhibiting his body on ground zero?

  45. Edwin Loveland says:

    Did anyone consider exhibiting his body on ground zero as a closing?

    1. Brian Branco says:

      I would be the first one in line – I would love to spit on his lifeless body, maybe drop kick him once or twice.

      What an opportunity that would be.!!!

      1. Black Snide says:

        I’d drop a deuce on his bullet-riddled face.

  46. Black Pride says:

    Bush (white man) couldn’t do it….. Obama finally did it….4 more years!

    1. dante says:

      uh obama half white and intel from the last 4 years when bush was prez

    2. christian says:

      for real? everything was set in motion by bush, obama (half white) only gave the final go-ahead and watched everything on video. the only reason there was even a go-ahead to give was because of info provided by a guy captured during the bush administration who, thru bush-era interrogation tactics shut down and then restarted by obama, gave up info on the personal courier who eventually and unknowingly led us all to bin laden. get your facts straight and don’t be so damned ignorant. its people like you that continuously prevent blacks from emerging from stereotypes.

    3. christian says:

      for real? everything was set in motion by bush, obama (half white) only gave the final go-ahead and watched everything on video. the only reason there was even a go-ahead to give was because of info provided by a guy captured during the bush administration who, thru bush-era interrogation tactics shut down and then restarted by obama (cuz they work), gave up info on the personal courier who eventually and unknowingly led us all to bin laden. bush started it all. actually, bin laden started it all and bush started osama’s end. get your facts straight and don’t be so damned ignorant. its people like you that continuously prevent blacks from emerging from stereotypes. obama probably won’t even have the balls to allow photos and videos of it all to be released, even tho i hope i’m wrong on that.

      1. badman says:

        you want to type you soliloquy a third time? I suggest you learn how to use your computer machine. and your brain. though that might be asking too much. “christian.” figures – what a freaking joke.

      2. christian says:

        Up yours, d-bag!

  47. Bettwe Majore says:

    Who cares about the photo’s they of course will be released what
    I wanna know is who gets the $25 million reward?

  48. Cami says:

    Why is there even a decision to be made about this? WE DESERVE PROOF!! How many pics did I see of people jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center? INNOCENT PEOPLE WITH NO OTHER CHOICE!

    Show the pictures and prove that this man is dead. Burial at sea? REALLY?????

    What the hell is going on here? Why is this even a question???

    1. A Muslim says:

      1. Osama’s buried at sea because they’re afraid that if he’s buried on land, then there will be a burial location, which extremists can then think as some sort of a “jihad shrine” or “hallowed grounds” or stuff like that.

      2. This is “a question” because nowadays people can do anything with photos anyway, I personally can make realistic photos of Osama, or Obama, or every single cast member of Jersey Shore or anyone, with bullet holes in their heads with Photoshop, and it’ll look gritty and realistic. Photos are NOT proof. Not these days. So I think the administration’s worried that photos will fail in satisfying lots of American people, and succeed in riling up and angering the Muslim extremists (who don’t need a lot to get riled against the USA anyway). Just an objective outsider’s take on the situation.

  49. Brent White says:

    It may be disrespectful to muslim culture and it may enrage some people but the muslims and their culture had no respect for American life with the attack. People may feel enraged but will also have closure by being able to see the picture. As a former United States Marine that was serving when the attacks happened and also being from New York, I want to see the photos. Until they are produced and proven to not be altered in anyway I will continue to disbelive. I also agree with the comment above, they should at least show the sea burial so we can the trash has been disposed of accordingly.

    1. Shawn Ryu says:

      And when did they have respect for us? Decent Muslims wont have much issues with this.

      1. Nick says:

        There are “decent” muslimes?????

        And the fascist libs censored the following. Free speech only applies if you agree with their lunacy:

        People talk about “enraging” muslimes like it’s not their normal condition. The only peaceful muslime is a dead muslime. As Osama had just proved.

      2. badman says:

        Nick, how long has it been since your pendulous lard gut blotted out your view of your own genitals?

      3. Honest says:

        Nice one Nick. Really showing the World why America should be the center of morality in the universe.

      4. Nick says:


        howzabout you lick the cheese out of my folds, wiseguy!

    2. Arif says:

      Oh man, I usually don’t respond to posts like this, but you need to be smarter Brent (and other people of similar mindset). “the muslims and their culture had no respect for American life with the attack”? Really? you equate a few men in a plane and a terrorist organization with the whole of arguably the largest religion in the world today? I am a Muslim and I’m proud of it. And I wept at 9/11. And I am happy that they finally get Osama. And so are, and did, and are, the majority of the billion of others around the world. Don’t generalize. Be smarter. It’s never the religion that’s bad, it’s always the extremist followers of the religion. It happened on a larger scale with Christianity in the Inquisition era, it’s happening on a smaller scale now with Islam, only much more dangerous because of our technology (both in information and weaponry) today. We just need to grow smarter as humans and it’s traits like you and some other people here exhibited that needs to be outgrown. Or we will never know peace.

      1. CADOSH says:

        MMmmh thats it Arif. The only tool to harness peace is through Good and effective public relation. The silly mistake we do is ‘generalizing’. One persons sin/mistake is assumed to cover the respective specimens. Lets reason CAREFULLY and THINK BIG!

      2. Arif says:

        @Brent: BTW, I responded to people like you because you seem intelligent, just (understandably) clouded with emotion and perhaps having a rather narrow perspective of life. But I’m confident there’s hope for most of us. People like ‘Nick’ a few comments up, however, trying to talk logic and reason with that kind of people will be about as useful as talking to my bathtub. It’s funny how that kind of people are the same inside, whether they wear turbans or Nike hats.

      3. Annoyed says:

        Thank you! I cannot stand people that want to put muslims into the same category. I was raised Lutheran, but that doesn’t make me who I am. These morons don’t seem to understand that Islam isn’t the problem, its just used as a tool by terrorist to recruit. Osama probably didn’t even believe the bs he was spewing. It’s called Propaganda.. Hitler used it, Mussolini used it. Religion itself has the power to do untold good or evil, it depends on the individual person.

  50. Nick says:

    Show the video of him being dumped into the sea with the rest of the trash, as per Naval procedures on garbage disposal.

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