Obama won't release bin Laden photos: Reaction
May 4th, 2011
02:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama won't release bin Laden photos: Reaction

(CNN) - President Obama's decision Wednesday not to release photos of Osama bin Laden after he was killed by U.S. forces is eliciting both support and opposition:

Sarah Palin, on Twitter:

@SarahPalinUSA Show photo as warning to others seeking America's destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama;it's part of the mission

Rep. Duncan Hunter, member of the House Armed Services Committee, in an interview with CNN:

"I want to see them personally...I did three tours. I'm not talking as a Member of the Armed Services Committee – as a Marine who did three tours because of 9/11. As Americans we deserve to see them."

House Speaker John Boehner
"He supports the president's decision," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel tells CNN.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer:
"I share the president's view. In my opinion there's no, there's no end served by releasing a picture of someone who has been killed and I think there is absolute proof that Osama bin Laden was in fact the person that was taken into custody, was killed in the process in the firefight, but I don't think there's any necessity to release the picture."

Rep. Peter King, Republican Chairman of the the Homeland Security Committee
“I understand the president’s decision and will not oppose it. While I have said that a photo release may be a good way to combat the predictable conspiracy theories about bin Laden’s death, this is a decision for the president to make, and I respect his decision.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican member of the Armed Services Committee

“I respectfully disagree with President Obama’s decision not to release the photos. It’s a mistake. The whole purpose of sending our soldiers into the compound, rather than an aerial bombardment, was to obtain indisputable proof of Bin Laden’s death. I know Bin Laden is dead. But the best way to protect and defend our interests overseas is to prove that fact to the rest of the world. I’m afraid the decision made today by President Obama will unnecessarily prolong this debate.”

Filed under: Osama bin Laden • President Obama
soundoff (330 Responses)
  1. Javier Bailey

    Sarah Palin is like a complete idiot to me. She says to show the photo as a warning to others seeking America's destruction...First of all, people with, like, or associated with Osama Bin Laden are not going to see the picture and have fear of what would happen to them if they took action against the United States...This would only PISS them off and they would execute acts against U.S. affiliation with the thought of their leader in their minds...REPUBLICANS, WHERE IN THE HELL DID YOU FIND SARAH PALIN AT? But really, she is retarded...Releasing this picture won't prove anything, I knew this in the back of my mind even though deep down inside I want to see them myself, but I also know that this would be a very big mistake in the long run...This would be a very historic, iconic image if it was released, and I just think we made the right decision. We are the USA and we have more class then to release of photo like that, period...We aren't trying to prove anything

    May 4, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. TJ

    I am relieved that this terrorist leader is no longer a threat to our country and our world. However, showing the pictures of his body is distasteful and disrespectful.

    May 4, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. anthony

    What does Palin know about "the Mission"? Was she in the armed service and we didnt know about it??
    (Because I served in our countries Army...)

    Lets ask Navy Seal Team Six if we need to release pics to satisfy the conspiracy theorists or "Deathers"
    Lets ask the intelligence agents who are smart enough to keep their mouths shut as to not jeopardize the mission.
    Lets ask the President, who sat quietly by and roasted Trump as he waited for confirmation of the KILL.

    While uninformed average American citizens for weeks demanded Obama's birth certificate, the Prez was out handling something that made him more AMerican than ANY of YOU could ever imagine...

    YOU PEOPLE cant stand that he will go down in history as the President who issued the command to pull the trigger,
    so you cling to what little you can to try and deflect credit from him. (No photo's, No body, Gitmo, Bush, etc...). Pitiful.

    Well if the NAVY SEALs say "TARGET DOWN" then I trust their word over some blowhard talk radio host, or RightWing talking head, or Obama Hating message board commenter.
    Even if the photos were released, YOU people would find something else to complain about.
    The President could walk over water next and you'll complain he isnt walking fast enough.

    If you spent as much energy complaining and bickering as you did trying to come up with solutions for the country we'd have all our nations problems solved by now.

    May 4, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Gina

    I agree with Obama not releasing the photos. Very classy of you. It just isn't necessary, and I respect that. Why risk reproccusions and make them angry at us even more?

    May 4, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Robb

    It serves none of us to see the photos. It will, however, serve the enemy who will use them for further their viewpoints. We supposedly are not animals and are the more civilized people. We should all just move on and be glad that this chapter is over in our history and prepare for the future of battling terrorism. There will also be conspiracy theorists who won't be satisfied, even if you dropped Bin Laden's dead body at their doorstep. I see no point in lowering ourselves just to make these whackos happy. And I certainly don't want my son exposed to this kind of exhibitionism. We have enough horror in the world already.

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. stew

    This is not about showing off Mrs Palin. Your inability to think critically about complex issues and beyond cheap grandstandimg underscores your real lack of basic smarts. Why cough up what all the crazy terrorists want. Why risk our servicemen and women's lifes with such half-cocked mentaility. And I am sure there are a bunch of other viable reasons why many republicans and democrats agree with the president. Beyond that, It is his decision. Show some class. I just thank God that you are a long way from 1600 and with every word that you spout your fellow republicans breath a sigh of relief as you demonstrate your complete lack of ability to be an effective president. I will happily pay to watch your show (s) if it keeps you away from a WH run.

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Sarah Palin, you are an insult to intelligence, an insult to women, an insult to humans. The best thing you can do is stay quiet because nothing that comes out of your mouth has an evidence of a thought process.

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. L. Hayden

    I wish our leaders would stop bickering with the President about photographs and would start using their time wisely on more pressing issues. Here's an idea, work on the budget! Our servicemen did their jobs with excellence, now it is time for our government leaders to do theirs the same way!

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Think!

    Think, people! If Osama was still alive, don't you think HE would be the first one to say so?! The "proof" is not in a picture that may or may not be doctored. The indisputable proof is that Osama is never heard from again.

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. KeninTexas

    Sarah Palin said " no politicking, no drama;",,,, Sounds like she needs to practice what she preaches and leave the politicking out of it. I agree about not publishing the photos. We know he's dead without the photos. And if Bin Laden's allies are left guessing, so what? You're not going to satisfy them anyway. I hope they lose sleep wondering about it from now on.

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. js

    Oh lord, heeeeere we go again with the "show me the proof" talk. Maybe Obama will release them if Donald Trump asks politely.

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Sifman

    What does Sarah Palin know about any misssions? All she knows is to shoot at some moose and sleep in igloos. It is completely up to the President to decide what to do. OSAMA IS DEAD! There are no photos needed. We went in, took him out and know we move on to the next target. As I see it we have a Mission Accomplished!

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Brian

    A warning? Does Palin not understand that nothing you do will deter crazy fundamentalists from hating the country and engaging in terrorism? Showing a photo of Bin Laden's corpse isn't going to scare off any terrorists - it will probably only embolden them.

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. Andy

    Sarah Palin please shut your piehole up! Everytime you open your mouth a foot goes right in. The decision not to show the pictures is correct and I support it. Get over it please!

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Vicsta

    There is no right answer. Some people want proof to feel a sense of relief, and other people want to see it to feel a sense of rightousness through retaliation. We should rightly so wait and witness the worlds reaction and let people calm down, everyone included, instead of rushing to put it out there. I applaud his mindset.

    May 4, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. kcl

    There is no right decision. Release the picture or not, there will always be doubters. Release the picture and it will be used as a symbol by the fanatics against the US.
    I would think it is a gruesome sight, do we really need to see it? Really?
    and.....Palin, you have no class. Pitiful.

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. just-think-about-it

    The pictures will be inflammatory and incite rioting and innocent people will die. To defuse this issue the House should be given the evidence, including pictures, at a closed door session and a joint statement rereleased confirming what the White House and the military have announced.

    As an aside, it is shameful and insulting to those members of the armed services, that put their lives on the line to undertake this mission, to now have their name and reputation brought into question. Having it suggested that these brave people are conspiring to lie with the White House for political gain is a sad reflection by people that have no concept of what it takes to put their lives on the line.

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Haren

    Before commenting, go back and think why you quit your post.

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Jilli

    I personally don't think they need to be released. I fear that doing so could do more harm than good.

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Capt. Smash

    Good Job Mr. President. Obama shows a lot of class here, Osama is dead and thats that.

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Krista R

    To those of you who want to see the pictures because it will "serve as a deterrent"; these are people who would willingly strap a bomb on themselves, they don't care.....

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. us1776

    There is no purpose in releasing these very gruesome photos. Children will be exposed to them. And ultimately such a release does more harm than good.

    Selected members of the legislature and the press should be able to view these images.

    bin Laden's death was proven through DNA, direct physical identification, face-recognition software and there is no doubt that bin Laden was killed in this raid.


    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. tim

    WHO CARES WHAT PALIN SAYS. why is anythign she says even a story...

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. 21stView

    Regardless of whether you agree or disagree ( I happen to see both sides of the issues), there is no truth to the rumor that anyone of substance really cares to hear even one more trivial, inarticulate, self centered, imbacelic, disrespectful and unpatriotic utterance from the likes of the make believe "leader" from the north. Please tell Sarah to just take a hike – for good!

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. GOP's got nothing!

    HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA! PALIN!?!? Haven't you figured it out dumbo? NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY! Real presidential by the way. Twitter?! What are you 12? Your 15 minutes (which you didn't deserve in the first place) are up.
    In the immortal words of Dick Cheney "Go f yourself!"

    May 4, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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