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Special Report

Government Transparency in Bin Laden Death

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 2, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, OBAMA COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: We a re going to do everything we can to make sure that nobody has any basis to try to deny that we got Usama bin Laden. And so therefore, the releasing of the information and whether that includes photographs, this is something to be determined.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, I - CONN.: It may be necessary to release the pictures, as gruesome as they undoubtedly will be. So my own instinct is it is probably necessary to release those pictures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: A lot of calls for the pictures. We can tell you the U.S. military flew Usama bin Laden's body to the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea, The aircraft carrier where it was prepared, we're told, for burial at sea; washed, wrapped in a white sheet, Muslim prayers were said. His body was then placed on a board and slid into the sea, less than three hours after President Obama addressed the nation.

Officials are now saying there is a 99.9 percent DNA match. Although questions about how this was taken, the testing and also whether pictures or video will come out. We're back with the panel. Steve, your thoughts on all of this?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, John Brennan said they were gonna do everything they could to convince people that this is really bin Laden and that he is really dead.

BAIER: So that means they are coming out?

HAYES: Considering two things. One is releasing pictures of a dead Usama bin Laden, the other is releasing the video of bin Laden as he was released into the water for this water burial. I think it's absolutely crucial that the pictures come out and that they come out sooner rather than later. I mean, I understand not wanting to release them in the first 12 hours, what have you. But I think they need to come out sooner. People have seen these kinds of images before. We've grown accustomed to them over the past decade. And if you are serious about doing everything you can to dispel any rumors or conspiracy theories about bin Laden's fate they need to come out now.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: The burial I don't think will do that. It's a shrouded figure -- a shrouded form --

HAYES: The burial wouldn't do that--

LIASSON: That wouldn't do that --

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: I'm not actually sure that doing the burial would be a good thing. But I think the pictures should come out and they should come out now.

LIASSON: I agree. And they just have to make sure that when they come out they don't, A, do anything to inflame the situation and, B, that they don't reveal any of the opposition that might be useful to our enemies.

BAIER: Right, but I mean, the U.S. has its own conspiracy theories but in the Middle East, I mean, it's a different level, they're exponential.

LIASSON: Oh my god - yeah, yeah

BAIER: So it's important --

LIASSON: Yes, it's pretty important --

BAIER: -- to release them, right?

LIASSON: Oh, I think it's extremely important. And I think that as you heard John Brennan say, they have every intention of doing it, they just have to figure out how.

BAIER: Why not today?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It should be earlier I think. Look the pictures are important A, to avert, to preempt conspiracies, but also to demythologize. This is what, I think, is so important here. The way all this, sort of, unfolded takes away all the aura that Usama bin Laden had over the years. Ya know, here is the great -- he's suppose to be this romantic ascetic, who lives in caves, he was living in a million dollar mansion in a comfy suburb. He was a guy who was supposed to be a fighter who would go down -- he wasn't even holding a weapon, cowering in a bedroom. And I think the worst was the way he was disposed of. And I would use that word. I think it was a brilliant conclusion to bury him at sea, so-called. As we speak, when you think about this, he is being eaten by the fishes in the Arabian Sea, which is what he deserves. We gave him the ritual washing but actually, there is no interpretation of Islamic law under which this was OK. You are buried at sea only if you die at sea and you aren't near a coast. There's nobody killed on land, in Islamic law who gets buried at sea. It was a way to demythologize him and to undo that aura. He spoke of the strong horse and the weak horse. He's now a dead horse.

BAIER: The reason they say they did this was because they didn't want a site, a memorial, a pilgrimage spot. What about the DNA tests? 99.9 percent accurate. It usually takes a lot longer to get a match.

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm not sure how they had it. But they will retain all the evidence, if anybody wants to rerun it I'm sure it will be available. They'll have the photos, they measured his height. There aren't a lot of guys six-foot-four wandering out that part of Pakistan in those circumstances. I don't think there will be any question in the rational world that he is gone.

BAIER: Yeah, we have facial recognition from the CIA, the operators on the ground identified him, with facial recognition technology. One of the wives apparently identified him by voice. But it really isn't about the U.S. It's about the rest of the world. Right Steve?

HAYES: I think it is. I think it's about making the case to the rest of the world. Particularly, the region. Where conspiracy theories grow and they grow quickly. That's why I think it's crucial that we get the photographs out soon, whatever you provide. I mean, I think DNA testing is harder to provide in a way that's accessible, for people, for, sort of, common people to understand it. But photographs are something that everybody can understand, everybody can see, and I think that will make the case.

LIASSON: Ya know, this is also really well-timed, I think, because we're at a point where the Arab spring has gone throughout the region. The Usama bin Laden ideology has been repudiated by all these people marching in the streets for human rights and individual dignity, which he was against. And I think that's gonna help.

Usama bin Laden-ism was on the wane and people didn't support that ideology. Of course he has adherence. But I think having him be killed now is gonna make it a little easier for us to convince people there that he is dead.

BAIER: I talked about this with Brit and we only have a short time left. We'll have plenty of panels to talk about the political implication. But down the row, what do you think the political implication is for this president as he goes forward toward re-election?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think the aura, the bump he will get will wear off, the way it did for George Bush I. After the Iraq war, he was at 90 percent. But I think Obama will always have an answer to those who accuse him of being weak on foreign affairs. He is the man who killed Usama bin Laden.

LIASSON: Yep, and you can't take that away from him. I think it's ironic because doesn't want to declare mission accomplished. Some members of his party might say, OK, now you've got him, let's pull out of Afghanistan.

HAYES: I think the bump will wear off, but I think it's very different than George Bush with the first Gulf war and George W. Bush when Saddam Hussein was captured because Obama is now playing against type. He is now the tough guy. He has had this accomplishment in a way that George Bush and George W. Bush were doing what was expected of them. I expect this to last and it's a problem for Republican candidates.

BAIER: That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for another look at the intense emotional reaction here in the U.S. to bin Laden's death.

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