Report: Obama Aides Disagree On Release Of Bin Laden Photo

May 4, 2011
Originally published on May 4, 2011 1:37 pm

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET: "Obama Says Bin Laden Photos Will Not Be Released, CBS Reports.

Our original post:

There's disagreement at the top of the Obama administration about whether any photo of the body of Osama bin Laden should be released, ABC News is reporting.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton "are advising the president about concerns at the Pentagon and State Department that releasing a photograph could prompt a backlash against the U.S. for killing bin Laden where one does not seem to currently exist," ABC's Jake Tapper writes.

Meanwhile, CIA Director Leon Panetta told NBC News on Tuesday that a photo or photos will be released and that it's important to do so because "we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get [bin Laden] and kill him."

Earlier today, NPR's Ari Shapiro also reported on the debate over whether to release any of the images — and White House spokesman Jay Carney's comment that they are "gruesome."

As Eyder wrote Tuesday, "the bin Laden pictures are in a legal gray area." But University of Michigan Professor of Law Steven Ratner said there doesn't seem to be a rule "of international human rights law that, per say, prohibits release of photos of the dead."

All this raises a question:

We'll keep that question open until the end of the day Thursday. Note: It's not a scientific survey, but rather a question meant to stimulate discussion.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit