Osama bin Laden photos won’t be released by U.S. government, Spec Ops soldier reveals grisly reason

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*Warning for graphic content.

Army Special Ops veteran Jack Murphy revealed what he claimed to be the real reason why the U.S. government opted not to release photos of the body of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden following his death, saying the decision was due to the number of holes in the terrorist’s body.

In a piece originally published in SOFREP, a news and analysis subscriber site from special operations combat vets, Murphy dismissed an account of bin Laden’s death by ex-Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette as a “polite description.”

In the book “No Easy Day,” Bissonnette wrote:

“In his death throes, [bin Laden] was still twitching and convulsing. Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds.

The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless.”


But in a Business Insider article, Murphy wrote that confidential sources revealed “magazines worth of ammunition” were fired into bin Laden’s body and after the smoke cleared he “had over a hundred bullets in him, by the most conservative estimate.”

A photo of a dead bin Laden floated around on social media for a couple of years that was later proven to be a fake:

bin Laden
Photo Source Twitter

President Barack Obama made it clear at the time that no pictures of bin Laden’s body would be released following the terrorist’s death, saying the U.S. “doesn’t trot out this stuff as trophies.”

The president’s description differed from what Murphy described.

“It is important to make sure that graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool,” Obama said.

In an article in Business Insider, Murphy questioned the legality of the account he shared:

“Provided the enemy is not surrendering, it is morally, legally, and ethically appropriate to shoot the body a few times to ensure that he is really dead and no longer a threat. What happened on the bin Laden raid, however, is beyond excessive.

The level of excess shown was not about making sure that bin Laden was no longer a threat. The excess was pure self-indulgence.”


Murphy said “the picture itself would most likely cause an international scandal” and lead to “other operations, activities that many will do anything to keep buried.” He also suggested that U.S. special-operations units regularly engage in “criminal” behavior:

You may not care whether bin Laden got some extra holes punched in him — few of us do, but what should concern you is a trend within certain special-operations units to engage in this type of self-indulgent, and ultimately criminal, behavior. Gone unchecked, these actions get worse over time.

The real issue is not that bin Laden was turned into Swiss cheese, but rather that this type of behavior has become a Standard Operating Procedure in this unit. Of course, these attitudes and behaviors do not come out of nowhere. Endless back-to-back combat deployments, PTSD, broken families, and war itself all play into it.

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