Daily brief: White House will not release bin Laden photos

Click: one stop shopping for the AfPak Channel’s coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden (FP). Event notice: today at 6:30pm EST in New York, Peter Bergen will discuss what’s next for al-Qaeda (Asia Society). The event will also be webcast. No photos After a "brief but intense" debate inside his administration, U.S. president ...

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

Click: one stop shopping for the AfPak Channel's coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden (FP).

Event notice: today at 6:30pm EST in New York, Peter Bergen will discuss what's next for al-Qaeda (Asia Society). The event will also be webcast.

No photos

Click: one stop shopping for the AfPak Channel’s coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden (FP).

Event notice: today at 6:30pm EST in New York, Peter Bergen will discuss what’s next for al-Qaeda (Asia Society). The event will also be webcast.

No photos

After a "brief but intense" debate inside his administration, U.S. president Barack Obama has decided not to release the photos of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s body or burial at sea, citing concerns that the images could be used to incite violence or as a propaganda tool (CBS, NYT, WSJ, Independent, CNN, Tel, AJE, Guardian, LAT, Times, AFP). CIA chief Leon Panetta said earlier in the week that the photos would eventually be made public, suggesting a split within the Obama administration, and Attorney General Eric Holder said he was concerned about possible revenge attacks (Post, WSJ, Post). A Pakistani security official who entered the Abbottabad compound where the U.S. Navy SEALs raid was carried out early Monday morning an hour after it occurred, however, sold several images to Reuters, showing three dead men, none of whom appear to be bin Laden (Reuters, McClatchy). The Reuters photos are available here (warning: very graphic).

Details continue to emerge about the Abbottabad compound and operation: property records reportedly show that the land on which the compound was built was purchased  between 2004 and 2005 by one of bin Laden’s trusted couriers, who went by Arshad Khan, for $48,000, after administration officials assessed the value of the property at $1 million (AP, AP, ET, WSJ, Post, Tel); U.S. officials say bin Laden had 500 euros and telephone numbers sewn into his clothes when he was killed, suggesting he may have had plans for a quick getaway (ET, CBS, Times); and the raid may have been "one-sided, with a force of more than 20 Navy SEAL members quickly dispatching the handful of men protecting Bin Laden" (NYT, Post, Reuters). Several stories also profile the SEAL Team Six, the secretive elite force which carried out the operation and has now returned to the U.S., and Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, the leader of the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (NYT, AP, Post, ABC).

The Pakistani military has taken charge of the investigation into how bin Laden was able to hide in plain sight, detaining 11 people (NYT). Indonesian officials say Umar Patek, a top terrorist suspect who was arrested in Abbottabad earlier this year, was planning to meet with bin Laden (AP).

Pakistan in the hot seat

Pakistan faces increasingly strident questioning over its stated ignorance of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, a military garrison town around 40 miles from the capital of Islamabad, as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani claimed the intelligence failure was made by "the whole world, not just Pakistan alone" (NYT, FT, CNN). The reputation of the Pakistani Army, usually considered the most effective institution in the country, has been called into question as Pakistani politicians and journalists demand explanations and an inquiry, and U.S. and European intelligence officials are becoming more convinced that current or retired Pakistani officials provided some kind of aid to bin Laden (Post, NYT, AFP, Reuters, WSJ). The Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami is urging its followers to protest Pakistan’s relationship with the United States tomorrow (Reuters).

Pakistan’s foreign secretary, Salman Bashir, warned the U.S. this morning of "disastrous consequences" if it carries out any more unauthorized raids on Pakistani territory (AP, ET/Reuters, Dawn). The Pakistani military has been publicly silent, though Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has reportedly been holding regular meetings with his top commanders (UPI, ET, NYT, Dawn). Chris Allbritton and Mark Hosenball have a must-read investigation into the long history of mistrust between Pakistani and American intelligence, and Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman describe how U.S. officials thought over the years that bin Laden was ensconced in Pakistan’s tribal regions (Reuters, AP).

A few more stories round out the bin Laden news today: the FT reports on how much the U.S. has spent on national security since the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001 (FT); the NYT and Guardian investigate the canine component of the Navy SEAL team that carried out the Abbottabad raid, and the NYT reports on tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan (NYT, Guardian, NYT); and the LA Times writes that U.S. officials say the harsh interrogation of detainee Hassan Ghul in a Polish prison in early 2004 provided a clue about the identity of bin Laden’s courier (LAT).

Non-bin Laden news

Afghanistan’s attorney general’s office said it had arrested a translator for U.S. forces on allegations of taking bribes to help set up contracts with the U.S. (AP). A motorcycle bomb injured eight civilians in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad (Pajhwok). And some 2,000 protesters in north Kabul demonstrated against Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s overtures to the Taliban, at a rally with former Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh and former presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah (AP). Bonus read: Peter Bergen on can we win in Afghanistan? (TNR).

In Pakistan, a school was blown up in the northwestern district of Nowshera, and schools remain closed in South Waziristan (ET, ET).  

Twitter records

Twitter announced that the hour in which Obama spoke on Sunday night to announce the death of bin Laden saw 12.4 million tweets sent (CNN, Tech Crunch, CSM). Between 10:45pm EST on Sunday night and 2:20am on Monday morning, Twitter users sent around 3,000 tweets per second.

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