Based on some of the comments below (there’s one reply inline there), I’ve updated the headline to clarify that this post is just an attempt to clarify that one picture purporting to be something is in fact fake, not a larger commentary on the important news that Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. troops. To follow our reporting on the raid that killed him, read Bill Dedman’s story here.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government says they have pictures of bin Laden’s body and are considering whether and when to release them. According to The Los Angeles Times:
During the operation, a photo of his face was transmitted to analysts, who confirmed the identification.
According to Pentagon officials, photos of Bin Laden’s dead face do exist but those widely distributed on the Internet are fake. At some point, if only to convince die-hard Bin Laden followers, officials are expected to release a corpse photo, as has been done in the past when famous villains such as Che Guevara and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein were killed or captured. Additionally, such special ops are typically videotaped by mini-helmet cams to document a sensitive mission and assist in debriefing and future training.