Since Monday the WH has debated releasing photos of dead bin Laden, citing their graphic nature as the reason to hesitate, and has apparently decided to release them. But isn’t there another option? By several accounts, the president, vice president, and several other top administration officials watched the operation unfold in real time, thanks to helmet cams worn by the SEALS. The White House even released a photo of the team in the situation room, watching the operation.
Well, unless no one was sharp enough to push a record button, there is probably a recording of whatever the White House was able to watch. And in all likelihood, the helmet cams themselves all fed their streams to individual recording devices. So there should be recorded video of the operation available, and according to one version of the story, one or more of our troops actually asked the woman in the room with bin Laden if the man was indeed him, and she answered that he was. If that’s how the raid unfolded, there was a moment of positive ID from a third party, and it may have been captured on a recording.
The point is, there should exist video of the Abbottabad firefight and OBL’s last moments alive. It would be foolish to release anything that would compromise opsec or give away SEAL tactics, and the video is likely to be very graphic, but even if it’s impossible to scrub the video of all operational detail, it should be possible to pull still frames from it and release those. Or maybe, just the moment when the positive ID occurs, if that’s the way the raid truly unfolded.
The point is, we have more information about the raid than just the death photos and the burial at sea. Someone needs to ask the White House if there are any plans to release any of that information.
Update: According to reports there is video of the raid, but it will not be released. There are also two sets of death photos and video of the burial at sea. We’re likely to see some of the death photos and the burial at sea.