Obama won't release bin Laden photos: Reaction
May 4th, 2011
02:25 PM ET
12 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. stevie68a

    President Obama made the right decision. Why inflame the lunatics who are suicide bombers that will take the first chance
    they get to cause mass murder? Let them believe Bin Ladin is still alive and join the birthers, who'll believe anything.

    May 4, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. carolmm

    I agree 100% with President Obama's decision

    May 4, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. d

    I would like to ask that major news outlets such as CNN to quit reporting the moronic ramblings of Sarah Palin. She could not tough out a full term as Alaska Govenor, Why on earth would anyone think she would have the wearwithall and focus to acheve anything so monumental. Sarah: Be a good American and congratulate the president, and the team that made this end to a nighmare happen.

    May 4, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Bex

    I respect his decision, as well. However, I believe if a whole nation is going to cheer for the death of a human being, then we should be able to deal with the image of it...and it may be our responsibility to do so. Not saying this particular human being was at all respectable. His legacy is that of destruction, murder, and basically just being an all around evil person who was too dangerous to be allowed to survive. However, the fact that we had to kill another human being is something that should not be taken lightly, and should be witnessed by all who supported his death.

    May 4, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Guester

    I have no idea why anyone cares what Palin has to say about anything.

    May 4, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. larry hernandez

    Ms. Palin has no practical experience making decisions of major importance, she may have had the opportunity if she had completed her obligation to the good people of Alaska. She has no 'cred' to comment on the Presidents actions before, during or after, get back to us when you have accomplished something of importance for this country.

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Rex Raptor

    I would like to suggest a compromise. He should show the photos and videos to members of the senate and congress (those that want to see them). They can then report back to their constituents about their authenticity. This to me is the most tasteful way to handle this.

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Roberto

    When Sarah Palin dies, I want to see the morgue pictures of HER so I can sleep at night. It should also be the mission of the greater population of the United States to take away her computers and cell phone.

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. AJ

    The man had young children. There is no need to plaster the picture of him dead across the globe. And Palin can rot for her comments. Authorizing an American kill squad to execute an unarmed man, terrorist or not, is hardly pussyfooting.

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. nimrod

    It's a balance between national security and safety of our people by not inciting al Qaeda, and providing proof to conspiracy theorist that bin Laden is actually dead. From the issues with the birthers, Appollo moon landings, etc., conspiracy theorist will never be convinced. So really, the decision no to release the photos, based on national security and public safety, makes sense. At least to me.

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. rusty155

    If Saran Palin had nothing between her hear , It not to made these people believe we will come after them. It because President Obama doesn't think kid should see something like that. But than you haven't fight In A WAR Saran Palin so you wouldn't know what something like that would look like. Saran Palin you have to be the BIGGEST IDIOT I have ever heard of. Is there Anything you don't complain about. Why don't you do what American People want and go Away.

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Mitch

    Personally I'd rather not have to hide every television station and every newspaper from my 6 year old daughter because it would be sensationalized all over the media....she's a little too young for such graphic images. And it doesn't matter, the conspiracy theorists would just claim that it was photoshopped! Sarah needs to worry about her children and grand children seeing these images...oh, wait, that's right....they have probably watched Mama field dress a caribou!!

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Joshua

    Wow! Let's try to have a bit of respect for humanity here. If your family member was killed do you want them smearing it all over the news. Unreal.

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. les3547

    Another good reason not to release the pictures is that it won't change anyone's mind. Those of us who already accept Osama is dead need no further evidence, and those who refuse to accept it now will say the pictures are Photoshopped (or something similar). So why bother? As a gutless killer of wolves from a helicopter for kicks, Palin's response is the predictable posturing of a coward trying to appear brave.

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. Palin

    Palin go fly a kite>>

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. John

    Hey Palin..why not put his severed head on a pole in front of the Whitehouse? If we EVER get a simpleton like you as president, it woudl be the "biggest scam in history".

    May 4, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Bedan Kamau

    This woman will try and insert herself in any conversation to get attention. Go away already! You have a proven track record in foreign affairs 🙁 .

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. aklucia

    Part of the mission? Says who? Since when has Palin any, and I repeat "any" idea what a mission is and how it should be conducted? She is a legend in her own mind and it is becoming increasingly more obvious to rational people. The Crazies? Not so much.

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Ruyooka

    Does anybody really believe that the President of the United States would have claimed that Bin Laden was dead without being absolutely certain about it? Surely he knows that there is nothing that Bin Laden would have loved more than sending out a video proving that he was alive. Come to think of it, why is the President being asked to prove that Bin Laden is dead? They should ask Bin Laden to prove that HE is alive. Let BL or his assistants show him to the world. And isf Sarah Palin doesn't not believe her government, let her bring evidence of Bin Laden alive.

    The man is dead, and dissapointed because he is in hell, and there are no virgins waiting.

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Toni Botello

    Who cares what Sara Palin thinks? Haven't you figures it out yet? ONLY the news media keeps her in the news. There are no hoards of followers clamoring for her opinion. Frankly, I love the President's calm demeanor and support his decisions. Sarah Palin has nothing to offer...she sounds like a shrill fisherwoman except that fisherwomen really work hard to earn a living. All Sarah Palin has to do is offer a worthless opinion.

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. GaryB

    I think that when there are no further video or audio messages from Bin Laden referencing current events, that will be proof enough. That said, I do think the administration should give 9//11 victim's families the option of viewing the photos in a controlled environment (i.e. no cell phone camera) if the families think that would be helpful to give them a sense of closure. But for all I know, they may already by planning to do that.

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. johnRJ08

    Anybody is doesn't think Bin Laden is dead will not be convinced by a gruesome photo. Just as there are some people who questioned the authenticity of the Obama's 'long-form' birth certificate. We shouldn't pander to these people, or those who crave the sight of gore. Bin Laden is dead. As an American, I have the right never to have to see his face again, be it alive OR dead. And I don't my daughter seeing the photo, either. Obama isn't only a realist. He's a father. He knows that nobody absolutely has to see this photo and he's right to keep it off the internet.

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. M-W-T

    Let our elected officials see it. If people don't believe them they can call them liars
    I stand behind our COMMANDER IN CHIEF

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. K

    Sarah Palin is about as important this country as Ross Perot. Lighten up, Sarah. Hey, I don't agree with everything Obama is doing, I didn't even vote for him. But i give him credit for getting this job done, and being as human about it as possible.

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Don

    I completely agree with the President deciding to not release the photos. There is no benefit to society or humanity to show the death of another human being!

    May 4, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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