Coverage of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s killing has been a prime example of American establishment journalism, a public relations operation designed to validate all the activities of the national security state and the military industrial-complex in the past year. This operation has been bolstered by the official release of documents found in bin Laden’s residence by the SEALs team that raided the compound in May 2011. Most news organizations have published their own glimpse into what the documents reveal. However, few questioned the fact that only 17 documents out of thousands of documents seized in the raid were released.
There was one exception: Matt Apuzzo, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his work exposing NYPD surveillance operations against Muslims, challenged the release of only a tiny fraction of the documents.
The Obama administration … does not want the public to have a full understanding of bin Laden. One can speculate why this may be and suggest, perhaps, there was correspondence between Pakistani government agencies that would make US intelligence agencies look bad. One can speculate that the “far-reaching network” Americans have been conditioned to fear is much more loose and much less threatening than the US government would have Americans believe. Instead, the public gets 17 selected documents that actually could be used in the coming months to promote more drone strikes and wider military intervention in Yemen if necessary.
It is overwhelmingly clear that the administration is not interested in transparency and openness when it comes to bin Laden. They are interested in exploiting him for political gain. Like George W. Bush invoking 9/11 to shut down political debates and win support, Barack Obama plans to invoke Bin Laden. And based on the fact that the administration won’t release photos or videos and plans to not release anymore documents, the nature of this seems even more opportunistic.
If there weren’t an election, would the American people even get to see the mere 17 documents?