When it was announced that Osama Bin Laden‘s body was buried within 24 hours of his death according to Muslim tradition, the inevitable questions arose as to whether the American people could believe he was truly dead without physical evidence.
We expected that given the nature of the circumstances, a photo or video of Bin Laden’s body would be released in some manner by the White House. Wednesday morning, reports emerged that President Barack Obama has decided not to release a postmortem photo at all.
Because of Bin Laden’s violent death, the body’s condition was described by several news outlets as “gruesome,” a fact which likely contributed to the President’s decision to keep the photographs internal. According to White House sources the photo depicts a precision shot above Bin Laden’s left eye that blew away part of his skull, and shots in his chest.
On Tuesday, CIA director Leon Pancetta told Nightly News that a photo of the body would be made available to the public. “The bottom line is that, you know, we got bin Laden and I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him,” he said.
There is concern that the photos, if released, will be “inflammatory.”