There was no good reason to release the fact that an intercepted telephone call by one of bin Laden's couriers last year provided the crucial link leading U.S. intelligence agents to the high-walled compound where the world's most wanted terrorist was holed up. Why give away anything about our intelligence operations that could conceivably benefit terrorists now plotting the next attacks on Americans either here or abroad? The publication of such details serves only to compromise the very work that resulted in tracking bin Laden and ending his murderous career that killed thousands of innocents including women and children.
And that brings us to the question of releasing photographs of bin Laden's corpse. As of early Tuesday evening, President Obama and his advisers had not decided if they would make public one or more of the pictures. Various news media and some members of Congress were calling for photographs to be released, suggesting they would show that the dead man, indeed, is Osama bin Laden.
However, Bin Laden was identified through a DNA match that was 99.9 percent certain. It is the kind of hard evidence used in our courts to convict murderers, rapists and other felons - and also used to free persons that have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned. In addition, officials involved in the process have said bin Laden was identified through both DNA and facial recognition software. But the DNA is unequivocal. It is the highest and best evidence, regardless of photographs.
The argument is made that unless a photograph is made public, there's no proof that bin Laden is dead. Yet a picture is not going to convince people who want to believe bin Laden was not killed. Remember when Americans landed on the moon there were some people that believed it was all faked. And there are people that believe Elvis Presley is still alive - even though there was a funeral and people saw his body.
Federal officials said a bullet struck bin Laden above the left eye, "blowing away part of his skull," and that he also was shot in the chest. The photographs are gruesome, according to a White House spokesman who said, "There are sensitivities in terms of the appropriateness of releasing the photographs of Osama bin Laden."
The White House worried over disclosing "anything that might be either misunderstood or that would cause other problems," said John Brennan, Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser. He, no doubt, was concerned that Islamist terrorists would exploit the publication of such pictures to incite more killings to honor their "martyred" leader. Why play into the terrorists' hands? I see no good reason to release any pictures.
After all, we don't have pictures of Hitler's corpse. But he's dead.