Osama Bin Laden 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer/Files )
The Obama administration wrestled on Tuesday with releasing what it
called a gruesome image of Osama bin Laden's corpse, even as militants
started questioning whether US forces really killed him.
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parts of the Obama administration offered differing views, with CIA
Director Leon Panetta saying there was never any doubt that ultimately a
photograph of the al-Qaida leader would be released to the public.
on Tuesday, the White House backtracked on an earlier claim that
bin Laden was involved in a firefight with US soldiers when he was
killed. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that bin Laden was unarmed
when US forces raided his compound, but did put up a fight before he
nominated by Obama to take over as defense secretary, acknowledged
concerns and questions "that had to be debated" about the potential
impact of releasing the photos.
"But 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 told NBC
in an interview recorded before Carney made remarks to reporters.
signaling an intense internal debate was under way, the White House
insisted no decision had yet been taken and noted the graphic nature of
White House spokesman
Jay Carney acknowledged the US also had several photographs of bin Laden himself – but were
reserving judgment on whether to release them.
Carney said the photos
that most clearly showed his identity were “gruesome,” with a massive open head
wound across both eyes – adding that the US administration is considering the
“inflammatory” nature of the photos before releasing them.
been calling for the photos to be released as evidence that bin Laden is truly
dead, and Carney indicated the issue was currently under review.
the issue was whether a release would “in any way harm our
interests... not just domestically, but globally.”
United States intelligence officials are mining a trove of computer
equipment captured in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound Sunday for
information about future attacks, and other terror networks.
The US hopes
they will be able to identify other high-value targets – as well as better
understand the support network that sustained bin Laden in his massive compound
in an affluent town, some 50 kilometers from Islamabad, for roughly five
The Navy SEALs who conducted the raid reportedly obtained five
computers, 10 hard drives and 100 storage devices.
offered clarifying details of the raid, saying that bin Laden was
that his wife had been shot in the leg during the raid, but not killed,
after she charged one of the US SEALs to protect her husband.
woman on a lower floor was killed in the crossfire, he said, though previously
White House officials had referred to the use of a woman as a human
He also specified that while bin Laden had resisted, he
personally was not armed. However, Carney said many other militants in the
compound did have firepower, leading to a “highly volatile” firefight preceding
bin Laden’s death.
Carney also stressed that Sunday’s target was more
than simply an effort to eliminate bin Laden.
“Lopping the head off the
snake is important – but the body, while battered and bruised by the actions
that we’ve taken over the years, is still there. We need to keep the fight up
against al-Qaida,” he said.
White House counter-terrorism adviser, John
Brennan, said earlier Tuesday on NBC that the administration believes it can
The organization bin Laden once headed has received
“severe body blows” over the past year, he said “We’re determined to do so, and
we believe we can.”