Should Photos of a Deceased Bin Laden See the Light of Day?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Despite the president's best efforts, the photographs of a deceased bin Laden may still see the light of day. Associated Press has filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the release of the photos, and the administration now has 20 days to respond to that request.

Now, the AP is asking that the Obama administration release both the photograph of bin Laden's dead body and images taken during the burial onboard the USS Carl Vinson.

Meanwhile, we are learning new details about just how the intelligence community plotted the raid on bin Laden's Pakistani compound. The New York Times reports, that a CIA surveillance team had been monitoring the compound from a rented house nearby four months before the Navy SEAL raid took place on Sunday.

Now, bin Laden's wife now in custody told interrogators that she was living in the compound with eight of bin Laden's children and that she did not leave that compound for five years.

While Americans continue to celebrate the death of the terror mastermind, many around the world are expressing, well, different emotions. Bin Laden's supporters stormed the streets of London earlier today outside the city's American embassy and vowed that Islam will triumph and that America will pay for the death of the terrorist leader.

And joining me with analysis, former White House Special Counsel Lanny Davis and the author of "Because They Hate," the president of Act! For America, Brigitte Gabriel. Guys welcome to the program.



HANNITY: Let's start with the photos, Danny, from a legal standpoint, I think there's a very good chance that Mukasey says the same thing, that the administration does not win this battle.

DAVIS: Well, there's a national security exemption in the Freedom of Information Act. And I assume that's what the Justice Department will argue. But when you have the Department of Defense saying that the military men and women will be endangered by this type of photograph, and when you have the president with an absolute certainty and DNA evidence being able to say that he's dead, I don't think you override your secretary of defense on a decision like this. And I think President Obama made the tough call.

HANNITY: Well, you know, this is the decision that they've come to, you know, four, five days after. That was not what they were saying in the beginning. As a matter of fact, the argument that he made why they didn't just bomb the compound was that he wanted proof positive for the world that he could show the world in fact, he was dead. Hang on, Brigitte, let's get your take.

GABRIEL: It is very important to show the pictures of Usama bin Laden. Fifty percent of the war is won through psychological warfare. The other 50 is through military battle. When we go into a battle with our enemy, we do a shock and awe to shock them and demoralize them and show them that we are going to destroy them. When you kill your enemy, and especially someone a high value target like bin Laden, you have to show his picture to demoralize the ranks of al Qaeda and send a very strong message to Islamists worldwide. You may hide, you may run, but you will be killed, and you will be killed in a very humiliating way and we are going to show you how you are going to die.


DAVIS: Well, first of all, to answer your point, Sean, there is absolute evidence that he was killed. If there had been a bomb, that evidence would have been obliterated, namely his body and DNA evidence. So, the reason --

HANNITY: Not necessarily.

DAVIS: Well, if you used the kind of bomb that would have had to explode in that level of explosion, there would have been no DNA left to sample. And the idea of going in with the commandos was to get that DNA evidence, and there is no doubt if he were alive, they can probably say, the photo was doctored. And I think.

HANNITY: What about -- what do you make of -- well, they could say that any way.

DAVIS: Yes, of course.

HANNITY: What about this shifting, changing position of the White House? He used his wife as a shield, he didn't use his wife as a shield. He has a gun, he fired. He didn't have a gun, he didn't fire. You know, one thing after another, they can't seem to get their story right. Jay Carney has looked worse than Robert Gibbs if that was even possible in terms of him trying to thread the needle and explain all of this. Don't you think we have a right to know?

DAVIS: Well, I've kind of been there, done that about the kind of information that is available to you when a story is breaking isn't always correct. Jay Carney is speaking what he's being told. And Mr. Brennan and other people involved in the Pentagon should have gotten this straight before putting anything out. I think they've admitted to making that mistake, but I agree with you Sean. This is not that surprising that it takes a while to piece together the story. And the leaks did lead to an incorrect impression.

HANNITY: It's not leaks, these are definitive statements that have now been contradicted by the same administration. And so, it raises, look, I'm with you, I am 100 percent certain bin Laden is dead. But I want to send a message to every terrorist, we are going to hunt you down, we're going to find you, if it takes nine-and-a-half-years or nine weeks and we are going to shoot you dead and this is what you are going to look like. So, I think it's everybody's best interests we just have a disagreement.

What do you make Brigitte, I'll ask you this. Well, a lot has been made, and there's video of this burial at sea. Now, we are told on the one hand that he is not a Muslim because he represents a hijacked version of Islam, which believes in 72 virgins in heaven. And yet they go through all this effort to bury him within 24 hours at sea, all these efforts to clean the body, all these efforts to wrap him up. All these efforts, 40 minutes on the USS Carl Vinson translated into Arabic.

GABRIEL: And here's the confusion and the wrong messages we are sending to the world. It shows our enemy that we ourselves are not clear as to who we are fighting and what we are fighting really. The president is talking from both sides of his mouth. He's not really a Muslim but we give him a burial like an Islamic royalty. And this is what is validating the radical Islamist point of view of their supremacy over the United States, and their supremacist ideology because they are looking at America's behavior. And they are thinking, look, even Americans subconsciously acknowledge that our religion is superior to theirs and they must do these rituals in order to honor a falling Shaheed like Usama bin Laden. They are using it to their advantage, actually, that is boosting their morale and it's making us look weaker and they wish the president did not do that. That was the wrong move.

HANNITY: Lanny, I think there's something here. There's a hypersensitivity, he's not a Muslim but he gets full customary Islamic burial. Forty minutes interpreted into Arabic, aboard a U.S. warship. Don't you think that is a bit overboard on their part?

DAVIS: Look, you are second guessing members of the intelligence community and our military when you saying that this is --

HANNITY: You think he deserved that Lanny?

DAVIS: I think that it was a strategic judgment that was a wise judgment, yes, because it would at least show respect for --

HANNITY: So, a terrorist who killed 3,000 Americans whose remains we didn't find deserves a full Islamic funeral even though they are telling us he's not a Muslim.

DAVIS: You are second guessing our military and our intelligence community if you disagree with that --

HANNITY: No, I'm second guessing the hypersensitivity because there's a naivete in here -- wait a minute, they think that they can reach out and that the Islamic world somehow is going to look at this as a sign of, you know that we are really not against them, when we've never been at war with Muslims. But we've been at war against radical Islamists.

DAVIS: Let me repeat, you are entitled to your opinion and it's a respectable opinion to guess which way you should go to try to be respectful and let the Muslim world know that. But we have intelligence community and military community people who planned this, not Barack Obama alone --

HANNITY: It sounds like appeasement to me.

DAVIS: -- the entire community that Sean Hannity is second guessing. And you have a right to do that, but I'll respect their judgment. It's not about Barack Obama, it's about the whole community.

HANNITY: So, you are saying that bin Laden deserved a 40 minute funeral, full Islamic funeral, all customs --

DAVIS: I don't think he deserved anything because he's a murdering thug.

HANNITY: A murdering thug gets a funeral deserving of --

DAVIS: The strategic judgment by our Defense Department and our intelligence community was yes, it's better to do it that way.

HANNITY: Lanny, that seems to be your fall-back.

DAVIS: No, it's a fact.

HANNITY: Brigitte, do you view this as -- do you think the Muslim world that maybe the president was trying to appeal to here, are they going to see this as strength or weakness? I believe weakness.

GABRIEL: They're going to see it as weakness. And forget respect, the man was a murderer, why are we respecting him and giving him these rights.

HANNITY: Exactly.

DAVIS: No, we are not respecting him, we're making a strategic judgment.

HANNITY: What's the judgment?

DAVIS: About enflaming people that put our service people at risk.

HANNITY: Who are we appealing to, Lanny?

GABRIEL: Wrong judgment.

DAVIS: You are sitting in a television studio and you're not in the field of battle.

GABRIEL: I come from the Middle East, I understand Arabic. I come from the Middle East, and I understand Arabic. And I can tell you one thing, revenge, revenge.


DAVIS: Well, you're second guessing our secretary of defense.

GABRIEL: I know what I'm talking about, our secretary of defense needs an education on how to fight our enemies.

DAVIS: You know more than our secretary of defense, well, you're sitting in the luxury of a television.

GABRIEL: I come from the world and I understand how they think.


No, I was raised on the bomb shelter of the Middle East, not on the luxury of an American television set.

DAVIS: You don't win arguments by shouting over people, let me suggest whether you are from the Middle East or not.

GABRIEL: I was not shouting over you, you kept interrupting. And you do not need to make judgments about people without knowing their background.

HANNITY: Well, we'll leave it there.

DAVIS: Well, I'm respecting our secretary of defense.

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