A new report at SOFREP, a website for U.S. special operations forces, claims to shed light on the issue of why photos of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s body were never released to the public. According to unnamed sources within the special ops community, the images would have been excessively gory, because contrary to reports from officials and those involved in the operation, U.S. troops fired countless rounds into bin Laden’s body after killing him.
In his book, “No Easy Day,” Matt Bissonnette, a member of SEAL Team Six involved in the bin Laden raid, writes that he and another SEAL fired “several” rounds into bin Laden to make sure he was dead. But sources tell SOFREP the shooting was far more excessive:
But this is perhaps the most measured and polite description that one could give of how operator after operator took turns dumping magazines-worth of ammunition into Bin Laden’s body, two confidential sources within the community have told us. When all was said and done, UBL had over a hundred bullets in him, by the most conservative estimate.
Initial reports claimed two shots were fired to kill bin Laden. While that number climbed in later reports, the claims of “over a hundred bullets” would suggest a level of savagery and, as SOFREP puts it, “self-indulgence” not admitted in prior accounts of the operation. SOFREP notes these actions would violate the Laws of Land Warfare and build on a disturbing trend of alarmingly brutal military behavior that includes graphic evidence of U.S. troops burning and urinating on slain enemy combatants.
But an extreme degree of violence would explain why U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration was so resistant to release a set of photos, for fear of a possible backlash against U.S. interests.
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, sued the administration for access to the photos last year, claiming there was “no apparent nexus” between U.S. intelligence activities and the images of bin Laden’s burial or preparation for burial at sea. A federal appeals court ultimately ruled the CIA did not have to release any of the photos.