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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Bin Laden Death Photos Will Not Be Released
Aired May 4, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, White House bombshell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has made the decision not to release any of the photographs of the deceased Osama bin Laden.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Why keep the photos under wraps?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARNEY: That's not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: How bad are the photos? We'll talk to somebody who's actually seen them.
Would showing them set up a storm of controversy across the Muslim world? Does holding them back mainly feed the conspiracy theories?
And this was the scene three days after 9/11. President Bush at Ground Zero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tomorrow, President Obama makes his first trip there as president.
And I'll ask a 9/11 family member and a former deputy fire chief what all of this means to them nearly 10 years on.
This is a special edition of PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. Good evening. The pictures the world has been waiting to see will have to wait. President Obama says he will not release photos of the body of Osama bin Laden. Listen to what he told CBS "60 Minutes" earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, we discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. And so there's no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden.
It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence, as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That comes on a day when other photos from the scene have been released. Photos that I must warn you are gruesome and graphic. They come from Reuters who said they were taken about an hour after the raid that killed bin Laden and three other men.
We're showing two of them here. It would give an insight to the intensity of the raid and a window into what kind of pictures the president was looking at when he made that decision.
A senior administration official says, quote, "We believe two were couriers and the third was bin Laden's adult son." One wearing a t-shirt bears a family resemblance to Osama bin Laden. There's no confirmation of his identity. Another is dressed in Pakistani clothing, though identities are not known.
The sources have named the courier who had lived at the compound as al Qaeda veteran Sheikh Abu Ahmed, a Kuwaiti citizen and a Pakistani descent.
The photos were taken by a Pakistani security official who sold them to Reuters. Other photos taken at dawn on Monday show the wreckage of the helicopter the U.S. command has abandoned.
Experts say its design is different from known helicopter types. (INAUDIBLE) assemblies are unusual. It could indicate some kind of previously unknown stealth capability to avoid radar.
I want to bring in a man who says he's seen pictures of the body of Osama bin Laden. Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Chairman Rogers, you have seen these pictures.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: I have, yes.
MORGAN: Can you describe them to me? ROGERS: Well, as a former law enforcement agent, much like the crime scene photo where you would see a victim who had been -- had suffered gunshots to the head. So it's fairly gruesome as you might imagine. With the caliber of rounds that our special forces use. It's distorting to the head in general. And again, they're just very gruesome photos of a head gunshot wound.
MORGAN: I mean are they, would you say, similar to the images we've seen of the other victims of the raid?
ROGERS: I think so. Other than I think the head wound is a little more severe on those -- on the pictures of Osama bin Laden.
MORGAN: I mean, would you argue personally that they are just from a taste point of view too graphic, too gruesome, to be published?
ROGERS: Yes, I think they're fairly tough to look at. And certainly if you've never seen something like that, pretty tough to look at.
But I remember one thing, Piers. Back -- I talked to a soldier actually today who told me he was in Iraq right after the Abu Ghraib photos were released. And leading up to that, apparently the soldiers were issued orders to double their medic packs, to take extra time on their patrols, because the violence was going to get worse.
And sure enough, after those were released, violence spiked. And my argument after looking at these was, A, it was clear to me that it was Osama bin Laden. Then you take the DNA testing, 99.7 percent, I think it was, a surety that it was Osama bin Laden. His wives are now saying it was Osama bin Laden. You take all that evidence. It's pretty clear that Osama bin Laden is dead.
Should we risk the life of one soldier to make these public? He's not a trophy for us. I argue it doesn't help our cause and may in fact make the life of a soldier in Afghanistan more difficult tomorrow. I just don't see the value in that whatsoever.
MORGAN: I mean, part of the counterargument, of course, is that if you don't release the pictures, then conspiracy theorists have a field day. They start to read into that decision, which has taken a while to come out, that maybe it's not bin Laden. Maybe this is some huge cover-up by the Americans. They just have invented the death of bin Laden.
You know how that argument can play out in that region. And we're already hearing from our CNN reporters on the ground that's exactly what is happening, is that they are twisting this decision into some sense of the whole thing's a scan.
ROGERS: Well, I think the people who are promoting that are the same people who promote other conspiracy theories that the United States was involved in 9/11. We know that the Taliban has actively immediately after the death -- I've seen intelligence reports and heard of reports where they're actively talking about trying to spin the story if you will about bin Laden not being dead, and it's just a hoax.
You can show the picture. You're going to have conspiratorial theorists say, that's a doctored photo. It's not Osama bin Laden. I don't know how much more proof that you need than his wives telling him, yes, that's Osama bin Laden. Yes, they have the DNA testing.
I think there's going to more things coming out in the near future that will confirm it was Osama bin Laden. I don't think you have to do it by showing this picture of him suffering a gunshot wound.
I just -- I don't see the value in it. You inflame those -- and listen, we're not worried about the Taliban. We know where they're going to be. I worry about that one village elder, when a sergeant in 101st or the 82nd Airborne and the Marines is walking through a village and saying, hey, any activity in the area?
I want them to be able in good conscience look at that soldier and Marine and say, yes, there's an IED around the corner.
If we inflame them, if we have just one of those village elders say, I don't know about these Americans, I'm not going to cooperate, and one soldier dies, to me, it's not worth it. I'd rather take the conspiratorial theorists all day long. They're the same people who are going to be pitching conspiracy theories. They'll find a new one next week and a new one the week after.
Osama bin Laden is dead. Again, his wives have said it. I think there's other proof coming. We need to move on and put the gas on getting after the al Qaeda network and see if we can't break their back. I don't think showing the photo does that.
MORGAN: Congressman, thank you very much indeed.
ROGERS: Hey, Piers, thanks for having me.
MORGAN: Joining me now is Paul Bremer -- joining men now is Paul Bremer, a former presidential envoy to Iraq and for the past six years, Osama bin Laden had a bounty on his own head.
Mr. Bremer, what's your take on all this? Obviously, there was the initial jubilation right across America and the world that bin Laden was dead. Now we see already some recriminations about the way the mission was conducted, about the legality of it. And in particular, about whether it happened at all.
And that is why the issue over these pictures seems to be so prevalent today because some people say they should have been published to prove that bin Laden's dead. Others say there's no need. It's definitely him. Look, what's your take on all this?
PAUL BREMER, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY TO IRAQ: Well, first of all, on the operation, it was a great tribute to the president's courage that he ordered this operation. And to the men and women of our intelligence services and armed forces, that they carried it out so well. It's proof that the fight against terrorism is essentially a game of drag bunts and inside -- you know, infield singles. And every now and then, you get enough men on base, you can hit a grand slam. That's what happened here.
I think the photos -- I haven't seen the photos and the only reason not to release them would be if they were so gruesome and his face was so distorted that you couldn't actually recognize it was Osama bin Laden. That's possible. I don't know. The chairman of the Intelligence Committee has seen them. I have not.
My guess is they will come out --
MORGAN: If I can -- if I can interrupt you there. I mean, I don't think that's the issue. Because both the president's spokesman and, indeed, the congressman just now, both said they could easily identify Osama bin Laden from the pictures.
MORGAN: I think it's that issue. The issue I think is more a question of, would it affect national security and would it put our troop's lives at risk if you inflame the Muslim community by publishing them?
BREMER: Yes. I think that's -- that is not -- that argument does not have validity. I think the argument that you would not be able to recognize him or it would be so gruesome has some validity.
I think it's important to remember -- I mean, I've lived in this region a couple of times. This is a region which thrives on conspiracy theories. You know it's a whole region of dark-haired Donald Trumps. The president should be familiar with this kind of conspiracy thinking.
The reason conspiracies work in this region is because people don't trust the press and they don't trust their governments. That's been the history there for a long time. So they don't believe what the government says. They believe what they hear in the bazaars.
There are a lot of people in this region who still think that 9/11 was a CIA plot or that it never happened. And I think it's important for us to close on this. Again, I haven't seen the pictures. So I can't make a definitive judgment on it.
If the congressman is right that more confirming evidence is coming out, it better come out quickly because the conspiracy theory is certainly multiplying out in the region. There's no question about that.
MORGAN: I mean in 2003, you were totally supportive of the decision to release photographs of Saddam Hussein's dead sons. There's a parallel there clearly.
BREMER: Right. MORGAN: In history, we've seen many other images of terrorists and others who have been killed being released. It seems an odd -- to me, it seems an odd moral distinction the president may be making here. In the sense that on the one hand we've gone in there all guns blazing, committing an assassination on a foreign soil.
Many people are arguing that the information that led to this may have come from interrogation techniques like waterboarding, which the president himself opposed. So the morality of all this is a little bit skewed, to put it mildly, isn't it?
BREMER: Yes. And I think, you know, you raise the question of Saddam's sons. It was an interesting case because there was a debate that went on for several hours after we killed them about whether we should release the photographs.
I was in favor of it. And in fact we then arranged in Baghdad to send a group of 12 Iraqi coroners out to examine the bodies, who could then report to the Iraqi people that we indeed had killed the two sons.
It was only at the point when we released the photographs and did those visits that the gunfire, celebratory gunfire, burst out in all the cities of Iraq. It was only after we produced evidence that the people actually believed it.
We went through more or less the same process when we captured Saddam Hussein six months later. You really have to understand how deeply these conspiracy theories are embedded in the psyche of people like the Iraqis who've been under a dictatorship for 30 years.
MORGAN: Mr. Bremer, thank you very much indeed for your time.
BREMER: Nice to be with you.
MORGAN: And I want to go to CNN's Nic Robertson in Abbottabad in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight.
Nic, tell me what the reaction has been to this decision by the president not to release pictures of Osama bin Laden. Hearing you earlier, it would seem that already there is an atmosphere of the reason they're not doing this is because bin Laden wasn't killed.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a huge amount of distrust here of their own politicians, of the United States politicians, and I spoke to the president of the bar association here a little while before President Obama announced that he wouldn't release the photographs.
And the president of the bar association here leads about 400 to 500 lawyers, led them in a demonstration earlier in the day. And he told me that he doesn't believe bin Laden is dead. He doesn't believe he was here. He thinks this is propaganda for the United States, for President Obama's reelection. But did go on to say show me a photograph and I'll believe it. But there was something else he said that was quite important. When I think about it now, it's still in the capability of the Pakistanis to redress this situation, if you will. They have the wife. They have the daughter. Intelligence sources already say that the daughter witnessed her father's death.
The lawyer -- the president of the bar association here said, put them on television. Put the wife, the daughter on television. Have them say bin Laden lived here and he's now dead. That would go some way to answering the question whether or not he's actually dead -- Piers.
MORGAN: And Nic, what kind of reaction have the people made to bin Laden's apparent death? Those who believe he's dead. Are they distraught? Are they quietly pleased?
I mean, what kind of reputation did he have by the end amongst the Pakistani community?
ROBERTSON: Most people here are sick and tired of him and what he's brought to the country. He's brought -- he's brought the Taliban in effect. He's brought an increased radicalization. He's brought death and destruction to their doorsteps. He's brought terror for their security services here as well. Hundreds of soldiers, security services have died. Thousands of Pakistani citizens have died.
So when I spoke to the neighbor who lived in the nearest building to where bin Laden was living 50 yards away, he told me he was happy because he wants a better future. And he said with the bin Ladens around, we can't have that. We want an improvement in education. We want an improvement in our lives.
I talked to a doctor here. He was educated in Britain. Spent many years working in hospitals in the UK. Came back here to help his country. He says, look, bin Laden's dead. Time to put it behind us. Build a new relationship with the United States. The U.S. helps fund education here. That's what people really want -- Piers.
MORGAN: Nic Robertson, thank you very much.
Would showing the photos of Osama bin Laden's body actually be dangerous? That's the big issue. And I'll ask the experts when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: That's a judgment that has to be made by the president and taking all things into consideration. My initial -- my initial opinion is that it's not necessary to do so. I think there's ample proof that this was Osama bin Laden. But I will defer to the judgment of the president of the United States.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Senator John McCain on the controversial White House decision not to release photos of the body of Osama bin Laden. But would showing the photos actually be dangerous?
And to debate this, Alan Dershowitz, author of "Trials of Zion," Colonel Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, and the "New York Times" columnist Nick Kristof.
Nick Kristof, let me start with you. You are a journalist for a top newspaper. Normally you'd expect these papers to want stuff to be published. Why on this occasion would you prefer it not to be?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Well, of course, I'm tempted to say that you know if somebody wants to leak me the photos exclusively, then hey, you know, give me a call at the office. But ultimately -- I mean I'm a journalist but I also fundamentally want to put primacy on interest on the United States.
And I do think that when both the secretary of state and the secretary of defense think that releasing these photos would jeopardize American national security and it certainly seems to me indeed this would inflame international opinion without really buying us anything particular, then I don't think that's worth it.
MORGAN: I mean, would "The New York Times" have published these pictures if they'd been offered to them?
KRISTOF: Well, look, I mean, we're in -- we're in the business of getting information out. And so I think that our decisions as individual journalists or news organizations (INAUDIBLE) would be different.
But if you want me -- if you ask, you know, is it in the interest of the United States as a whole to have these photos released, then I don't think so. And I think that it is going to simply create an iconic Osama bin Laden image that is going to change the narrative and it is going to help recruit more jihadists, and you know that is not in the country's interest.
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz, I mean, you said on this show last night, the photos should be released, so there's closure, particularly for the families I think of those who died on 9/11. What is your reaction to the news that they won't be published?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, AUTHOR, "THE TRIALS OF ZION": I think it's a terrible mistake. And the issue of not releasing them because everybody knows he's dead is a red herring. It's not whether it's him. It's the question of how he died.
"The New York Times" today has a headline saying new U.S. account in bin Laden raid. He was unarmed. Was he armed? Was he not armed? Was he standing up? Was he lying down? Was he shot in the front? Was he shot in the back?
In any case involving a homicide, we generally examine the body. We have forensic tests. We have medical examiner. And we have multiple photographs of entrance wounds and exit wounds, particularly because we have no body, they buried it at sea, also a terrible mistake in my view.
We need to have those photographs. Not to prove that it's him but to prove the circumstances under which he was killed to allay any doubt about those circumstances.
I think we will rue the day when we tried to suppress this information. And it's surprising to me that a journalist would want to give the president the sole authority to decide whether to disclose information.
I'm tempted to respond to Nick's humorous point by saying I have a client in England named Julian Assange who might very well want to give you a call and I'd have no information whether he has, I'm sure he doesn't have those. But they will be leaked at some point by somebody and it will be embarrassing to the United States.
MORGAN: But Alan Dershowitz, I mean, taking the position of the president, what is really to be gained? We know apparently that these photographs, from those who have seen them, depict bin Laden with a huge hole in his head from where he was shot dead. What do we really gain by seeing an image of that given we know that's what happened?
DERSHOWITZ: Under the First Amendment, that's the wrong question. We never ask the question what do we gain by publishing it? Publishing has its own interests. We always resolve doubts by putting information forward.
This is not information about secrets. This is information the president has decided to suppress because he believes that it will incite violence. There was no violence incited when we released photographs of Saddam Hussein. I think that's speculation.
In any event, what Brandeis said many years ago that the best disinfectant to sunlight ought to be the presumption and the rule. And by the way, newspapers, maybe not "The New York Times," will sue to get this information and they may very well win.
This should not be a decision relegated to the president alone. It makes a terrible precedent.
MORGAN: Colonel Davis, let me turn to you. You worked at Guantanamo. President Obama says to release the photos would incite violence. Do you agree with him?
COLONEL MORRIS DAVIS, FORMER CHIEF PROSECUTOR AT GUANTANAMO: I do. I mean I don't see any upside to the decision to release it and a lot of potential downside.
I mean this isn't a NASCAR race where we do a victory lap after killing Osama bin Laden. This isn't a case where showing the people that their leader is dead is going to stop the movement. It's not a case where there's any serious dispute about whether he's dead or alive.
And there's really nothing to be gained here other than basically taking a victory lap by showing the photos.
DERSHOWITZ: That's not the point. The point is to prove the circumstances under which he was killed. And there's grave doubt about that.
DAVIS: Well, in war people die under a lot of different circumstances --
DERSHOWITZ: And we ought to know the facts.
DAVIS: Well, this is not a case where there's any upside to exposing the photographs.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, that's not the issue. The upside. The upside is that the First Amendment and freedom of speech is an upside for itself. There has to be an overwhelmingly compelling reason for not releasing the photographs. And I've heard nothing that would strike the balance in favor of suppression and censorship.
KRISTOF: But if indeed it does -- one does think that there are going to be more jihadists who are going to be attracted, who are going to be recruited to this, and endanger American lives, then that doesn't -- I mean that seems to be a real risk.
And you mentioned earlier that Saddam Hussein images. Now when that video was taken of the Saddam Hussein hanging surreptitiously taken and released, that certainly created much more sympathy for Saddam.
I think that created a narrative of a brave Saddam as a martyr for the cause and I think the result was more bloodshed. I think that's, you know, a good example of what we want to avoid this time.
DERSHOWITZ: But remember that the typical argument made for suppressing anything under the First Amendment is always it may hypothetically cause this danger and that danger. And our Supreme Court correctly has always said you must have overwhelming evidence of a clear and present danger. And speculation is not enough.
The precedent this would establish for suppressing material because it might be offensive or might lead to this, it would give, again, Muslim extremists veto about what we can read, what we can hear. It harks back to the cartoon issues and other forms of censorship.
We should not censor because if we publish it will offend the sensibilities of people who don't share our values.
MORGAN: I mean there's also another issue here, gentlemen, which is the issue that's been raised about the legality of what happened at all, in the sense that this is, for all intents and purposes, a rather clinical assassination on foreign soil of a man who we now know was unarmed in his home.
What do you say to that, Nick Kristof?
KRISTOF: Well, I mean, I don't really buy that. I mean I think that it was -- that we were much better off sending commandos in and I think it would have been better if he could have been captured alive. But I have some sympathy for commandos who were marching in, in a very dangerous situation where there has been a firefight.
And -- so I guess I'm a little reluctant in a studio right here to question people who are under fire in that -- in that situation.
MORGAN: Let me hold you on that thought, Nick. I want to have a short break. When we come back, I want to ask you, Alan Dershowitz, about the legality of what happened and whether that affects the decision to publish the photograph.
MORGAN: Back now with Alan Dershowitz, Colonel Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, and "New York Times" columnist Nick Kristof.
Alan Dershowitz, we have talked to you before the break about the legality of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. In your legal opinion, was it lawful?
DERSHOWITZ: If it went down that the way the administration says it went down, it was lawful. We are entitled to cross borders in order to take action necessary to protect our citizens. It was lawful when Israel did it in the Gaza. It is lawful when the United States does it now.
The only question is whether when they we went into the room, Osama bin Laden was subject to being killed under the rules of combat. And if he had not surrendered, he was. If his hands were raised or he had a white flag, obviously, he could not be killed.
If he was sleeping, it raises a different question, which is exactly why the photographs must be released to vindicate the SEALS, to vindicate the Americans, to prove that what we did was lawful.
Otherwise, there will be grave doubts. Already, U.N. representatives are saying that there are doubts. Already, there have been calls for international investigations. And I think we ought to preemptively prove that what our brave SEALS did and what our president correctly ordered was lawful, proper and appropriate, and the photographs will prove that.
MORGAN: Colonel Davis, let me bring in here. You're very relevant to this. You were at Guantanamo. President Obama, before he was elected, was very hostile about the existence of Guantanamo, and vowed to shut it down. He's now changed his mind about that. There are suggestions that, as a result of waterboarding people, either in Guantanamo or suspects in Europe, that information was gleaned that may have led to the discovery of where bin Laden was.
People dispute that, but there is a suggestion that is what happened. Given all that, I mean, there is a morality issue here. President Obama today sat up and said we're not these kind of people. That's why we're not releasing these picture. We are better than that.
Yet, there are people at Guantanamo being held for year in, year out, with no real sense of justice. That, in terms of morality, seems a pretty flawed double position, doesn't it?
DAVIS: Well, it's one of many positions where we're just completely hypocritical. There are a number of men at Guantanamo whose only offense is being Yemeni. They've been cleared for release. They're being held for no reason other than they happen to be from Yemen.
I was probably the most optimistic person when President Obama took office in January 2009, and probably one of the most disappointed in 2011 that he's had a lack of backbone to stand up for what he campaigned on. And to talk about morality with the photograph is a bit hypocritical given what's still going on at Guantanamo.
MORGAN: Nick Kristof, earlier we heard from Nic Robertson, who's out there in Pakistan, saying that already, because of this decision not to release the photographs, there are people now all over the place, all over the region, saying -- well, the reason for this is because it wasn't bin Laden. He's not dead. The whole thing's a scam drummed up by the Americans, which is plenty ludicrous.
But it's going to fuel all sorts of conspiracy theory, isn't it? Isn't it the easier thing to just say, you know what, here he is, move on?
KRISTOF: Yes, there certainly have been doubts about whether it really was bin Laden who's been killed. I do think that is just beginning to change. Some of the Jihadi sites in the last, say, 12, 24 hour, have begun to agree that he was. In fact, bin Laden's daughter has now confirmed to the al Arabiya network that indeed he was killed.
It seems to me that if people are unwilling to believe Osama's own daughter, that adding the photos to the mix isn't really going to persuade them. I do think, you know, that in Pakistan, all throughout the Arab world, there are an awful lot of criticisms of the American operation.
Adding a photo of Osama covered with blood, with a big hole in his head, is only going to inflame those passions.
MORGAN: It may inflame the passions. But let's get real here. What bin Laden did in New York on 9/11 inflamed a lot of passions the other way. Aren't the American people entitled to payback? Aren't they entitled to an image to atone for all the terrible images he inflicted on the American people?
DERSHOWITZ: We apply a double standard on outrage. We take far more seriously the outrage and offensiveness of Muslims than we do of Christians or people of other faiths. That imposes a kind of censorship power that Islamic extremists have on our dialogue. And there's something very, very wrong about that.
We can't live by their standards. We can't make our First Amendment and our freedoms of speech conform to their sense of offensiveness. I'm not talking about all Muslims obviously. I'm talking about those who would be so deeply offended that they would react violently to the portrayal of a picture, which we see every day on television of dead bodies.
Every time we have jury trials, every time we have homicide case, we see dead bodies. It's -- we're used to it. We shouldn't let one group of extremists tell us how to run our lives, run our government, and limit our freedoms.
KRISTOF: Last night, you argued --
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz --
MORGAN: Let me ask Alan Dershowitz one difficult question, which is this, which is, if the military, as we understand, made a plea for these photographs not to be released, because they genuinely feared there would be reprisals against servicemen in Afghanistan and Iraq, is that not a compelling reason alone not to publish them?
DERSHOWITZ: No. They made the same argument when the Pentagon Papers were about to be published. The same arguments about Wikileaks. You're going to not give the military of the United States veto power over our freedom of speech.
The commander in chief is the commander in chief of the United States Army. Not the commander in chief of civilians in this country. And the president shouldn't have the sole authority to make these kinds of censorship and suppression decisions, except in extreme cases and cases where it's very self-evident.
I think, in fact, it would help our image abroad if we showed these photographs, and if we persuaded everybody that he was killed under circumstances that were lawful and proper, rather than leaving others to say that he may have been murdered in cold blood. I don't believe he was.
But without the photograph, people will reasonably believe that we're trying to suppress the truth.
MORGAN: Colonel, let me ask you for your reaction to that.
DAVIS: Well, it's a bit hypocritical. Last night, Alan argued that because everybody else tortures, we should torture.
DERSHOWITZ: I never said. I never said that. I don't support torture under any circumstances. I said other people torture and torture sometimes works. We ought to understand that by prohibiting torture, we are perhaps giving up some possibilities of getting relevant information. But I'm against torture.
DAVIS: I don't see how releasing this photograph and taking a victory lap --
DERSHOWITZ: It's not a victory lap.
DVIS: -- vindicate the 3,000 people that were killed on 9./11. It doesn't bring them back. The image of us in the Middle East -- we've got the photographs from Abu Ghraib. We've got the unit recently that were killing people for sport and making photographs.
We've got enough pictures of Americans posing with dead bodies. I think we need to take the high ground. We ought to be setting the high standard rather than the low bar. And displaying this photograph does nothing to advance our national interest.
DERSHOWITZ: You could make the same argument at Abu Ghraib. Look how good that did.
MORGAN: Gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there. It's a compelling debate. I've heard both sides of the argument all day. I'll be honest with you, as a journalist for the last 25 year, my inclination is always to publish stuff like this. But I completely understand the president's position that it could well imperil the national interest and security.
But the debate will run along. Gentlemen, thank you very much.
DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, does the death of Osama bin Laden pose a security threat in this country? I'll ask one of the president's top security advisers.
MORGAN: As we all know, the death of Osama bin Laden does not eliminate the threat from al Qaeda. Joining me now is William Bratton, the vice chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, and chairman of CRAWL.
Mr. Bratton, tell me about your reaction to all this, In particular, what the threat may now be from al Qaeda. Bin Laden was clearly a figurehead. He's gone.
But some are saying the danger from his organization may actually be greater now that he's gone.
WILLIAM BRATTON, VICE CHAIR., HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISORY COMM.: I think in the near term that there's not a raised threat, in that so much of the activity since 9/11 in this country have been plots that have taken a period of time to develop and to put into action.
In the longer term, those individuals who might see the death of Osama bin Laden as a inspiration to commit acts -- I would be more concerned with the longer term potential. But in the near term, most of what we have experienced have not been spontaneous actions. Not to say that the lone wolf who has access to a firearm, potentially explosives, a grenade, might not seize upon the moment with all the attention of the world focused on this issue and this country at this time, might take that opportunity.
But the good news is at the national level, the national threat level has not been raised. Each city, each community, is being encouraged to be more aware. And if they have the resources, or they feel the need to elevate their level of visible security, certainly here in New York, Washington, D.C., other major cities around the country have seen that elevation at transportation hubs.
But I think the principal concern may be the longer term issue.
MORGAN: I mean, as a man who's run the policing in two major cities now in America, what do you think about this debate about the photograph of a dead bin Laden? Would you have been tempted? I mean, obviously, you've been in New York. You've run the police there.
You would understand the mood in New York. A lot of people there would like to see that picture of bin Laden dead. They'd like that form of photographic closure.
BRATTON: Ultimately, the decision rests in the hands of the president. He has spoken on this issue. Myself personally, I have no interest in seeing it. I believe he's dead. Good riddance. In terms of -- I was living in New York on the day of 9/11. Certainly have a passion for this city, as its former police, choosing to continue to live here.
Each person has an individual decision to make relative to this. I agree with the president myself personally. I don't think it serves the national interest at this time to release that photo or those photos.
MORGAN: Bill Bratton, thank you very much. I want to bring in Jim Riches now, who's a former deputy chief of New York's Fire Department. He lost his son on September 11th. Also Carie Lemack, whose mother died on that terrible day too.
It must be very bitter-sweet feelings for both of you. Let me talk to you first, Jim. What were your feelings when you first heard bin Laden was dead?
CHIEF JIM RICHES, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF, FDNY: I felt happy that the man who bragged and said that he killed my son, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did at Guantanamo, bragging that they killed my son and 3,000 other innocent American whose only crime was they went to work -- I felt good about it.
But there's no closure because it's bittersweet. My son's never going to come home. He's not going to walk back into that room. He doesn't show up at my son's wedding where he's supposed to be the best man.
You know, it's good. We met with Obama. He followed through on what he was supposed to do. He had the backbone to do it. It was very nice that he did it. It gives the families some consolation, the only justice that we've gotten in 9.5 years.
MORGAN: Jim, would you like to see a picture of a dead bin Laden? Would it give you any kind of solace?
RICHES: No, not at all. Just like they said before, you know, it's not -- he's dead. We believe he's dead. I take Obama's word for it. He told us that he was going to go after him and he did. I don't think it's a conspiracy theory that big where everybody's involved in the whole government. I believe he's dead. The DNA will show. It's not going to prove anything.
To put soldiers in danger overseas I think is dangerous, and to inflame al Qaeda to do other acts. It's a recruiting tool for them. I believe he's dead.
MORGAN: Carie, let me turn to you. Your mother Judy was on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the North Tower. When you heard bin Laden was dead, did you feel exultant? What was the emotion you were experiencing?
CARIE LEMACK, LOST MOTHER ON 9/11: No, no happiness, no exultation. It was more relief, because what's most important to me is to make sure that no one else suffers the fate that my mother and Jim's son and so many others suffered around the globe.
Let's face it, bin Laden didn't just commit 9/11. He committed acts of terror around the globe and killed thousands of people. What's most important now is that no one else is going to die because of this man.
MORGAN: Without a picture, are you entirely satisfied that it was bin Laden, that he is dead?
LEMACK: Well, as Jim just said, I'm going to believe the president, take him at his word. And quite frankly, I don't see how a picture solves all the problems. Those who don't want to believe bin Laden has been killed, if they see a picture, they still won't believe it.
And what's most important to me is that nobody else die because of this man. And if a picture might insight more violence, then it just simply doesn't seem to be worth it.
MORGAN: President Obama is completely convinced it was bin Laden. That's certainly good enough for me and I think most people who consider this in a rational way. Tomorrow President Obama's coming to Ground Zero, the first time he's been there since he took over the presidency.
You will both be there. Carrie, let me start with you. How will you be feeling tomorrow when this very emotional visit takes place?
LEMACK: I think I can speak for so many families that since about 11:00 on Sunday night, it's been quite a wild ride of emotions and exhaustion. I can't predict how I'll feel. It's always difficult to go to this place where my mother was murdered and to be there.
But it's always -- it's always nice to be with the other 9/11 families. Who I like to say -- one 9/11 widow once said it's the best group of people I never wanted to meet.
To be able to be close to them and to have the president there to honor our loved ones, because we need to focus on those who were killed. I have to be honest, I'm getting kind of tired of all of the focus on this mass murderer. I'd rather focus on those who were lost. Those are the people we need to be honoring.
And that's what we're going to be doing tomorrow.
MORGAN: Jim, let me turn to you. I mean, both you and your son, both extraordinarily heroic firemen in the city of New York. Tomorrow, the center point, Ground Zero, will be seen all over the world as the president visits. What will your feelings be?
RICHES: My feelings are I want to extend my internal gratitude to President Obama for having the backbone to make the attack and get bin Laden and take him out, like he promised to us before. I worry about my three sons who are firemen now, because they're cutting funds and they're talking about the high alert we have now. It's going to close 20 firehouses in New York City.
I think it's totally uncalled for.
But tomorrow is a day for us to be proud of what our sons did. I was down there at Ground Zero. I picked up all the body parts and stayed there from 9/11 to May of 2002. And what they did to us that day was brought us to our knees.
I tell you what, this week, after September 12th, 2001, we have that energy back in this country. And I'm very proud to say I'm an American.
MORGAN: Bill Bratton, Jim Riches and Carrie Lemack, thank you all very much.
When we come back, a man who has seen Guantanamo from the inside. What does he think of enhanced interrogation techniques?
MORGAN: Does enhanced interrogation work? I want to bring in CNN's senior political analyst Gloria Borger.
Gloria, you've been studied this in some detail. And there seems to be all sorts of conjecture about the effectiveness of any of this kind of interrogation. Yesterday all the hawks came out from the Bush administration saying, this is vindication. Waterboarding works.
When you actually study it, as you have, very little evidence that actually anything to do with waterboarding has had any impact at all here. GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Particularly when you talk to people in the Obama administration, who politically are on the other side of the argument, Piers, right? But in talking to my sources throughout the administration, it's interesting because, first of all, it's not entirely provable, number one.
Number two, the key to the discovery of Osama bin Laden was a courier. When they asked Khalid Sheikh Mohammed about this courier -- and don't forget, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been water boarded 183 times -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed lied to them and said, yeah, this person's not very important, was kind of dismissive.
From other information the CIA had, they knew that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and another high-level detainee were both lying about this courier. And the information they had on the courier was from people who were not tortured. They got information from them through other methods.
So when you talk to people inside the administration, they say the alerting factor to us was a lie. And we knew it was a lie from other methods. And so they say this has absolutely nothing to do with the effectiveness of torture.
MORGAN: Gloria, in relation to this decision about the photographs, whether they should be published or not, what is your view of that? I'm quite interested in this part of this in terms of the politics. Recently we had President Obama saying I will not be forced into revealing my birth certificate. That's ridiculous. And then he did.
MORGAN: He bowed to pressure and he did. It seems to me very different situation here. A similar kind of principle, isn't it?
BORGER: Well, it's interesting, because -- in terms of the birth certificate, which is a whole different level of thing, they decided that it was capturing the conversation, and when it was released, the doubters were still doubters, OK?
In this situation, they knew that if you were to release these photographs, people could look at the photographs and say, you know what? It's doctored. It's photoshopped. The doubters will always remain doubters.
So from their point of view, there was nothing to be gained and there was an awful lot to be lost. I know that the president, I have been told, always was sort of against releasing this, that there were people inside the White House who had a sense yesterday, whom I spoke with, who said to me, look, I am not sure.
We have all the evidence hear. We have the DNA, I was told. We have the facials. We have the wife's identification. We even have his measurements. Why should we do this?
It would only be for shock value and could hurt the troops. And they didn't want to do that.
MORGAN: Gloria, thank you.
MORGAN: Brandon Neely was a guard at Guantanamo. He says he saw hellish treatment of detainees there. Brandon Levy joins me now. Brandon, when you hear the president talk about the morality of not releasing this picture, of doing the right thing, it's not what America does, what is your take, given you were at Guantanamo watching and witnessing some pretty outrageous stuff being carried out in America's name?
BRANDON NEELY, FMR. GUARD AT GUANTANAMO: I can understand him not releasing the photo. At the same time, I think that the victims of the 9/11 families should have the opportunity, if possible, to view the photos in a confidential or secret way, if they can.
MORGAN: But in relation to what you witnessed -- I mean, you saw, I would argue from what I read of your testimony before, flagrant abuses of the Geneva Convention and of justice, didn't you?
NEELY: Yes. When I was at Guantanamo, I saw a lot of abuse that took place at the hands of the Internal Reaction Force team there at Guantanamo Bay in the early days. There was an incident that happened on Bravo block, which a detainee was -- the Internal Reaction Force team was called in, and they opened a cell door, and the Internal Reaction Force team took him down, beat him up, hit and punched him, hog-tied him and left him there.
He had to be taken from an ambulance to the main hospital there on Guantanamo Bay. You know, this detainee now has been cleared and he's innocent and he's out. He actually -- since he's been released, he had to have medical treatment and surgery due to that incident that day.
MORGAN: For everything that you saw, do you think that torture in any guise, whether it's semi-permissible, like waterboarding -- does it ever work, from what you saw?
NEELY: No. I firmly believe torture is a betrayal of the American values. I mean, you can't stoop to the level of the terrorist groups and throw out the principles and the values that America stands for just because that's what they're doing.
You know, our government stands in front of a podium and condemns other countries for torture and abuse on their people and their prisoners. It's really time that we quit talking the talk and walk the walk, and do what we want other countries to do.
I think lately, people seem to think waterboarding is the thing to do. But it seems that people forgot that the Reagan administration in the '80s actually prosecuted a sheriff here in Texas and his deputies for waterboarding a suspect.
MORGAN: Brian Neely, thank you. We'll take a short break now and we'll be back in a moment.
MORGAN: Bin Laden is dead. The truth is, he is dead. Now here's my colleague, Anderson Cooper, with "AC 360."