Psst, want to see photos of bin Laden's body?

FBI warns about e-mail message that promise pictures or video from raid

This article has been updated from its original version to include word from the White House about releasing photos.

President Barack Obama says he won't release photos of Osama bin Laden's body, and the FBI is warning people not to be fooled by e-mail messages that promise the images.

The bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) said links in e-mail messages that claim to show photos or videos of the May 1 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden was killed, likely contain malware that could compromise users’ computers, embedding itself into contact lists and eventually infecting the systems of others.

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IC3 advised people not to open unsolicited e-mail messages, and to be cautious even of messages that seem to come from someone you know.

The center also warned users to increase the privacy settings on social media sites they use.

Since bin Laden’s death at the hands of a team of Navy SEALs, administration officials had debated whether to release photos taken at the scene. The White House has described the photos as “gruesome” and expressed concern about the reaction they might incite among bin Laden’s supporters. On the other hand, the photos could confirm to the public that bin Laden was killed.

CIA Director Leon Panetta had said it’s likely the photos will be released eventually, although he pointed out that the decision is up to the White House, according to a report in the Washington Post.

He added that “I don’t think you have to convince the world because of the DNA and all of the other proof that we have.”

But since then, Obama told "60 Minutes" that he would not release a photo, according to an Associated Press article.

Despite the evidence, speculation that bin Laden is still alive has run rampant among conspiracy theorists since the news of bin Laden’s death broke, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Meanwhile, the IC3 is advising computer users to:

  • Adjust the privacy settings on social networking sites to make it more difficult for people you know, or do not know, to post content to your page. Even a “friend” can unknowingly pass on multimedia that’s actually malicious software.
  • Do not agree to download software to view videos. These applications can infect your computer.
  • Read messages you receive carefully. Fraudulent messages often feature misspellings, poor grammar, and nonstandard English.
  • Report messages you receive that purport to be from the FBI. Criminals often use the FBI’s name and seal to add legitimacy to their fraudulent schemes. In fact, the FBI does not send unsolicited e-mail messages to the public. Should you receive unsolicited messages that feature the FBI’s name, seal, or that reference a division or unit in the FBI or an individual employee, report it to the IC3's Complaint Center at

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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Reader Comments

Tue, May 10, 2011 Floyd Tooele, Utah

WHY????? Why does anyone need/want to see the PIX? If OBL is NOT dead, he will release a video soon enough. Funny how those seeking a release of those PIX now, never challenged OBL videos as being current, when they were posted. Let the deed be done, the truth be accepted, and go on with life.

Fri, May 6, 2011 Art KFMY

For any who need 'confirmation', they could release a fingerprint set. A set of Dental X-Rays would also be non-inflammatory. The only 'body' shot that might be appropriate would be after prepared for 'Burial-at-Sea'.... Surprised that there was no autopsy, but a little sample of spinal fluid should give enough health history.

Thu, May 5, 2011

Conspiratherist...Why would he want to come up with...he had Osama killed? Well, re-election does not look promising. I believe the Bush Admin had to keep Osama alive to keep the cause alive and the war machine financed. I just don't believe a mass murderer could hide out within 35 miles of the capital city, a few hundred yards from an advanced military training compound? Maybe he was conducting the trainging!? This gives obama a reason to sacle back the was machine in Afganistan/bring home troops. This would be very beneficial for his bid for re-election in 2012. Brought troops home from 2 wars in FOUR YEARS!!! WHAT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT!! HOWEVER..Our military is being cut as I write this and expected to do more with less. Taxes are bing raised and poverty is growing as fast as the national debt...which spells socialism.

Thu, May 5, 2011

Just like Obama's birth certificate, some wouldn't believe the photos are authentic. Heck, there are still some to don't believe we landed on the moon, and some who still think the earth is flat. The photos won't prove anything, as photoshop proves. And any wax museum will show you that a head can be dummied up. Just use your imagination, if you still have one.

Thu, May 5, 2011 JRP New Jersy

The main question is a question of logic, why would anyone doubt the government now. It took 9.5 years to finally find Bin Laden. I and I bet most people, just gave up on us finding him, I assumed he would die of natural causes. If the government was going to lied they would have within 2-3 years after Sept 11, 2001, when Bin Laden was fresh in our minds. And as for photos of Abu Graib, the previous adminstration release photos first.

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