Obama, Fearing Bin Laden Photos Could Become ‘Propaganda Tool,’ Won’t Release Them

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — In an interview with CBS News correspondent Steve Kroft for this Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” President Barack Obama said he won’t release the Osama bin Laden images taken to prove his death.

“There’s no doubt we killed Osama bin Laden,” the President said in the CBS News interview.

Obama also said that for anyone who doesn’t believe bin Laden is dead, “we don’t think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference.”

On Tuesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta said a photo would be released. However, White House spokesman Jay Carney said during a press briefing Wednesday that Obama saw the photographs and ultimately decided he did not want to make the graphic photos available.

“It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. That’s not who we are. We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” Carney quoted the President verbatim.

The niece of 9/11 victim Denis Lavelle was left with mixed feelings about the President’s decision.

“It would be nice to see it, but I don’t have to. It’s not going to bring my uncle back, but it feels good that they got him,” Tara Moccia told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

PHOTO GALLERY: New Yorkers Celebrate Death Of Osama Bin Laden

It’s been a key issue for Obama and one that has caused controversy and debate around the U.S. and the world.

Releasing the images could dispel doubts that bin Laden is indeed dead. The worry, though, is that it would feed anti-U.S. sentiment.

Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill called sealing up the photos a mistake.

“It’s one way to end the conspiracy theories and make it clear that bin Laden is dead,” Rep. Peter King said.

Others, however, asked with face recognition and DNA matches, what more could be necessary?

“We don’t have anything to prove to anyone at this point.  Osama bin Laden committed these heinous crimes and now he’s going to rot in hell,” Rep. Anthony Weiner said.

Peter Romaniuk, an expert from the John Jay College Center On Terrorism, said the President made the right call.

“The photographs may be a rallying point for would-be extremists in the future, may provide extra opportunities to memorialize him in a way that I think might lead to further radicalization abroad and at home,” he said.

The White House confirmed two sets of bin Laden pictures, graphically showing a gunshot to the head, do exist. Carney said the President believes the DNA and facial analysis proves the man U.S. forces shot was bin Laden, and the photos are not needed as further proof.

Meanwhile, people at Ground Zero continue the debate.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond With Reaction From Ground Zero

Andre Wood of Newark says President Obama made the right decision not to release the photos.

“He doesn’t want to incite violence and I don’t have a problem with his integrity, so I don’t need to see the picture,” Wood told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “If President Obama says he got him, he got him.”

But Ian Ferry of Washington Heights wants proof. “People have been wanting to see this for years and now that we finally have the opportunity, it’s being denied to us,” said Ferry. “How can we even believe anything happened in the first place?”

One woman walking out of St. Mary’s Church a block from Ground Zero says she was there on 9/11 and never has to see a photo to believe Osama bin Laden is dead.

Obama is scheduled to visit Ground Zero on Thursday to mark the end to one of history’s most intense manhunts and to remember anew the victims 9/11.

Do you agree with the president, or do you think the photos should be released? Sound Off below

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Marla Diamond
  • Dale Auburn

    What is the Official Opinion of All 9/11 Families on this?

  • Officer

    …perhaps if you quench your pants you will stop yelling?

    What’s that you say…they aint burning because of fire?
    O…sorry…perhaps another visit to the free clinic is in order then?

  • Gregg

    It’s a propaganda tool by not releasing any pictures ! Some visual proof of his death should be posted. That could be from his funeral at sea , anything.

  • jerseyjoey

    Obamas Punlic relations people are once right, this idiot move of tell America we cant handle a corpse photo is a huge PR mistake and will haunt democrates in 2012 big time, VIVA Trump, and yes I agree with the post under this one that Palin is a Arse

  • Pathos

    A few points:
    1. Tell the Paki’s that we want our stealth copter back – not to sell it to China
    2. That dump is a $1-million “mansion” and only 6 years old?
    3. Palin is a bloody idiot
    4. Forget the pix – I WANT HELMET CAM!!

  • TomNJ

    Killing Osama has been a standing order since 9/11. Obama just happened to be in the white house when they got him. So, please, stop praising Obama for this. He had about as much to do with it as I did.

    • WhiteCrow

      Not sure it’s praise. The push back is from haters that cannot fathom that the executive in chief did his job, doesnt gloat, is even keeled, and aint a republican white man.

      • JOE


  • GoodShepherd

    Losers? Look in the mirror you inbred goof. Hmmmm, cant remember gas being this high before….since 2008. “He will be crowing”? Maybe he should land on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit with a sign saying mission accomplished? Nah, what moron would do that to appeal to his flock of sheep, black or white?

  • Deemee

    When these terrorists broadcasted an innocent mans beheading it was ok? Come on show us the pictures of this dead animal. Unless they just dug up hid grave and all this talk of a raid is bs. I really believe this is what happened. Such a vocal person to be quiet for so many years I don’t buy it. I have no doubt they got him but I’m sure getting rid of his body was just so we wouldn’t know he was dead already for a long time.

  • Black Pride

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

  • .

    Australian kills daughter after Facebook threat
    California boy charged with murdering neo-Nazi dad
    wow looks like no more muslim exclusive

  • .

    America loves assassinations. Look for a new reality show: We Are Assassins.

  • M,Robie McMann

    So on Fox news we see already that Reuters news has sold 3 photos
    of 3 dead at Osama’s men at OBL’smansion they were shown tonight
    on Channel 5 & were sold by the Pakistan army to Reuters press.
    Folks it is only a matter of time till bloody Osama’s face will be shown as well on TV.

  • John

    This is a smart decision. It would only anger those who followed him. Let his death die down so that we might be able to live without fear of another attack.

    Good choice… don’t give in to the idiots who are begging to see photographs. A photograph will do nothing more than feed into the anger of terrorists and fuel more conspiricy theories about photoshop, bait and switch, and everything else out there.

    What is done is done… What is said is said… let us move on and hope for the best in the future.


    Our President is A TOOL

    a real toolbox goober at that!!!

  • John jeak

    Where is that Wikileak guy when we needed him? jezzzz

    • Lee Harvey Who?

      Where is lee harvey oswald now that we need him?


    hey, st. mary’s church that the news article mentions in the second to last paragraph,in which a woman says she was there during 911, is on Grand Street and Ridge Street. Unles I am mistaken, that is quite a walk to the WTC. Once again. the news is sensationalizing (if thats even a word) the truth…I live right next to the church…

  • websteve

    Everyone is missing a major part to this story. If Bin Laden is still alive, as the conspiracy theorists suggest, then where is he?? Why hasn’t he sent one of his videos to say he’s still alive?? That hasn’t happened. That’s sure enough proof for me and should be for everyone else! As far as – should we release the pictures? No. For the reason I just mentioned and because we shouldn’t have to prove ourselves to anyone. The guy’s dead. End it. Now let’s move on and get the rest of these creeps.

    • jay snow

      A picture is worth 50,000 words, the falling of the twin towers wasn’t pleasant, but was viewed many more times than you can count, show the photos to silence the critics.

  • M. B. A.

    Having lived through the second world war I am amazed in NY
    that since the well photographed Viet-Nam “war” no
    photography that is freely done by the press of any Mid- East war since 1993 in
    has been shown,this war is all sound bites and background and censored.

    Where was the respect for the horrible dead photographed at the Concentration camps? Osama is getting off easy .

  • Georges Delarue

    25 people selected from 25 countries should view
    the photos as witnesses and sign a paper to that effect that
    they saw the images of the dead OBL and leave it at that.

    In any event the photo’s might be “leaked out” around 9-11-11.
    In the digital age nothing is secret.


    This animal didn’t give thousands of innocent victims a choice. He should not have the choice..The American people want to see…his head on a platter or his guts in a bowl..we want to see..make us all believers.
    He caused mass destruction and should be held accountable..yeah they say he was shot and killed..DAMNIT, I WANT PROOF..Until then we shall all continue to walk on eggshells..

  • Nick

    Forget the stupid pics. Post the video of Osama being tossed into the sea with the rest of the trash, as per Naval garbage disposal procedures

  • M.A.D

    There was a room full of people at the Situation Room in the White House and the people who were at the mission all saw Bin Ladin die…ENOUGH already, just turn the page and move on.

  • muggsy bogues

    One of the most dangerous paths to follow is Blind Patriotism. The best (and worst) example of Blind Patriotism took place in Nazi Germany. Do we want to mirror that example?!?

    We have an OBLIGATION to question our government when things do not seem correct.

    When we raise these questions we are NOT dishonoring our soldiers. We are questioning the honor of our politicians.

  • llieut dan's aunt

    navy seal team 6 said geronimo e-kia, then it is so. no need for the politicians to put their hand on a holy book and swear. i have friends who were murdered that day, a nephew who served 2 tours in iraq. he was awarded a purple heart and brought all his platoon (33 guys) back alive. american lives would be at increased risk should photos be published. those of you who want a visual, just clip one of the existing pictures that have been too prevalent in the media and do your best jackson pollak with red paint. there are too many angels in heaven as a result of this lunatic. thank you navy seal team 6. now let’s honor those we’ve lost by living a good life.

    • littlestar

      That’s good enough for me, llieut dan’s aunt ! ! !

  • Ellen

    I am in complete agreement with President Obama. What we don’t need right now is radical Muslims using this as a propaganda tool , and putting Bin Laden up as a martyr for everyone to see.

  • nathan

    There are some real WACK jobs on here. Why don’t you nuts get a job? Oh thats right. You’re NUTS.

  • HooDatIS?

    he shole is ugly
    nasty trick
    rot in hell u loser
    so glad ur dead u fish eyed fool

    • Fred G. Sanford.

      How would you like five ‘cross yo’ lip?

  • Brooklyn,NY

    the President is right. nobody needs to see the pictures. if you dont believe him, its your tuff luck.

  • Jasen Brewer

    This whole thihg sounds suspecious!, anyone ever see the Dustin Hoffman movie “Wag The Dog?”

  • sharon wolff

    I feel the President accomplished a wonderful job in the killing of Bin Laden. No American lives were lost, and this tactic went off without any “leaks to the press”. As for showing pictures of the deceased would cause problems throughout the world, although that SOB Bin Laden showed “before photo’s” of Americans who were about to be killed, doesn’t make it right.

  • Caryn Elaine Johnson

    Cassandra Morales, you are off your medicine. Your comments make zero (none, nada, bupkis) sense at all. Open mouth, insert foot. Repeat.

    • Casandra Morales


      You just want my sweet juicy goodness.

  • nyc

    Not only should the government show a picture of Bin Laden killed, they should also show his funeral at sea with respect to all Muslims to show we have dignity as we are being told.

  • Michele New Englander

    I’m sorry, I feel that the photo’s should be released. He’s dead (or so we think). For all we know he is being waterboarded on Gitmo with the rest of them.

    • Michele New Englander

      Stay tuned to Wikileaks. They may have something soon. I doubt he’s dead. There isn’t enough unrest due to his demise. So I don’t believe it. Who knows a little plastic surgery, a new identity, drop off the grid, and live a new life. He has it made and probably on our tax dime. God Bless America!

    • John

      He’s dead, because the USA Navy Seals always get their man…

  • http://Google Casandra morales

    If you want to stop terrorism stop Police corruption and abuse! Miami Florida Police are the ones to blame for 911. Stop racism and abuse in the Police departments!

  • http://Google Casandra morales

    If you want to stop terrorism stop Police corruption and abuse! Miami Florida Police are the ones to blame for 911. Stop racism and abuse in the Police departments!



    • The Gorton's Fisherman



      I think it’s time for a visit from the SEALs.

      • Lilly

        …or WORD GIRL!!!

    • D Franklin

      No Frank, you are not the only one.

  • http://Google Casandra morales

    The pictures are already all over the Internet.

    • Michele New Englander

      they are doctored.

  • infowars

    There is something highly suspicious about the White House not releasing these photos. What ever happend to Obama’s so-called more “open government”. Does anyone know how to say “CROCK OF $%#&”??

    The government is seriously considering curtailing (raping) our rights even more than they have already been – and there is a real question over Osama’s death.

    Has our government lied to the people in the past – YES … without a doubt. Just remember the Gulf of Tonkin incident. They are totally capable of doing it again in order to further their own agenda.

    How much of this garbage is the American public going to stand for? Is it going to take a military presence at your local mall … being searched in order to gain entrance? Maybe random house-to-house searches based on no probable cause?

    When is enough enough? This is OUR country … the government is supposed to serve us.

    Welcome to tyranny. In case you were wondering what tyranny was … we’re just about there :(

    • Joseph Didonato

      Are you saying US navy seals didnt kill Osama? Do you think US seals would allow this to be said if it were not true? Grow up!!

      • muggsy bogues

        Are you saying US navy seals wouldn’t follow orders to keep their mouths shut if they were ordered to by the highest levels of government? Grow up!!

      • Little Tiny Tim

        …are you saying that they are reducing the number of “o’s” in my morning cereal?
        Oh my, I’d better hurry and grow up!

    • FRANK


  • John

    President Obama is 100% correct in not opting to release the post mortem photos of Osama bin Laden. To see these photos is overkill. I knew people who died on 9/11 and I, myself was affected. The USA said that they would get him and they did, enough said and enough done. Let us now turn the page on bin laden; however, we should come away with a valuable lesson, which is to always remain vigilant. Furthermore, our security systems, whether it is the FBI, CIA, or whatever they may be must always be on the same page so that every bit of information pertaining to any potential threat is divulged to all parties.

    • Ellen

      John, Well said.

  • Stan


    • Your Momma


      Noone wants your vote. Now, go home.

  • Ellen

    Frankly I applaud the President for not realizing the photos of Bin Laden, only because it would give the radical Muslims something they want which is a martyr. A martyr they would parade around for years to come.

  • Donna

    Couldn’t of said it better myself Frank :)

    • Mark Silvers

      It’s okay for Al Jezerra to show video of Americans being beheaded but not okay to show the death picture of Bin Laden. Come on, President Obamma, I’m a Brooklyn boy. Bring it on. Show me the picture!

  • Frank

    I am personally outraged that the photo will not be released. We care more about what other people in the world will think of us as opposed to what our own citizens feel. There are many people here in the US, and particularly in NY that need to see this photo, myself included. Not to mention the families of those who lost loved ones on Sept 11th. Yet our government and Obama will put the feelings of radicals and terrorists above all else? Really? News flash….whether the photo is released or not, these lunatic radicals will always hate us and be looking to hurt us. While I am so proud of the president and of our armed forces and proud to be an American, I am really disappointed with the government about this.

    • kl rife

      Will seeing bring back any of the loved ones who died that day in PA, DC or NYC? No one needs to see this … Its not their feelings we are protecting it is giving them a picture to martyr a mad man… to post their own hate and use that picture to say “Look what the US did!” who needs or wants that? Yes they will always spew their hate… but why give them more ammunition? Will seeing some photo really make you feel any better or miss the vicims any less? Hell No.

  • floyd bannister

    Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said. “Nothing more than you’d expect with a person with a bullet in his head.”


  • They will be released

    Oboma will release them at some point as a strategy when running for his second term. No doubt about it,

  • http://Google Casandra morales

    They already had pictures of it on the Internet since day one! Unless those aren’t the real pics!



  • jerseyjoey

    Of Course, its all a scam. Now i say prove it Obama, i said my claim , now burden of proof is in your hands.

  • Anthony

    It’s obvious that the photos were taken by the military and not by the press. If press photographers had been at the scene, the president could not have prevented release of the photos to the public. Nobody controls the press or the media. A lot of people are queasy about postmortem photos, especially gruesome photos. If the world watched the destruction of the Twin Towers, the world should be entitled to firsthand proof of the death of bin Laden. A lot of people will disagree with the president on this issue.

    • NJ Observer

      Agreed we saw graphic detailed photos and video of planes hitting the World Trade Center towers and people jumping! How horrific was that! This will be child’s play….I do wonder about raising anti American sentiment tho…..but not sure this would worsen it. In OSB (acutally should be SOB!!) circles they all know he is dead!

      • NJ Observer

        I guess it’s actually “OBL” oops but I like “SOB”

      • M

        This man has been glorified in death- buried with 24 hours and all Muslim traditions of bathing, dressing and prayers before being buried at sea. Very nice accomodations.
        Now, even further, we cannot see the final proof, which only brings doubt to all of the thinking people.

        Really, don’t you think this man had instructions on what the radicals were to do in the event of his death?

  • Willie D'Pimp

    Hey! That guy looks like Frank Zappa!

    • Beefheart

      may weasels rip is flesh

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