Sunday, May 31, 2015
Why the U.S. should disclose Osama bin Laden’s porn stash
The collection includes now-declassified correspondence as well as English-language material found at the compound. The tranche of documents was extensive.
The news media took great interest in the English-language books, think tank reports, U.S. government documents and other materials bin Laden collected.
In addition, the Office of the Director of National Defense confirmed for the first time that bin Laden had an extensive pornography collection. But they declined to release any details about it.
When U.S. forces raided bin Laden’s hideout and killed the leader of al-Qaeda on May 1, 2011, they seized a cache of documents, computer files and other materials. The goal of that seizure was to learn about bin Laden’s terrorist network, activities and possible future attacks.
After the successful raid, unnamed high-ranking Pentagon officials told Reuters, ABC News and other media that pornographic videos had been discovered at the compound. Reuters reported that the pornography “consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive.”
On May 20, the ODNI publicly confirmed that bin Laden had a porn stash.
Bin Laden was a hypocrite
The disclosure provided evidence that bin Laden was a hypocrite. Bin Laden presented himself as a pious Muslim, waging a holy war against what he considered a morally corrupt and decadent Western world.
“We have no plans to release that at this point in time,” Brian Hale, a spokesman for the DNI, told The Telegraph about bin Laden’s porn. “Due to the nature of the content, the decision was made not to release it.”
DNI spokesman Jeffrey Anchukaitis gave a similar comment to the Guardian.
I’m sorry, but that reasoning doesn’t cut it. That’s not a legal reason for refusing to disclose details of bin Laden’s pornography collection.
In June 2013, I made a Freedom of Information Act request for information on the porn collection, an interesting footnote to history. My FOIA request was rejected on questionable grounds. As were my appeals.
At the time, the CIA refused even to admit that porn was found in the bin Laden raid.
My requests were denied under the FOIA exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3). I do not believe those exemptions are valid in this case.
The CIA’s FOIA denial letter claimed that “the existence or nonexistence of requested records is currently and properly classified and is intelligence sources and methods information that is protected.”
The claim that this information is somehow mission sensitive or pertained directly to the operations of the bin Laden raid is laughable. This information reportedly was swept up by U.S. agents in the hunt for information on terrorist activities, but it stretches the imagination to believe that this pornographic material should be classified or is pertinent to national security.
The CIA’s response to my FOIA request also stated that the CIA is prohibited from mailing obscene matter. I have two responses to this. First, as I stated in my original request letter, I am based locally and able to view documents and records in person in the Washington, D.C., area.
Secondly, documents summarizing the pornographic contents of flash drives and other media could most certainly be mailed. This would include descriptions and lists of what the content seized in the raid shows.
President Obama is protecting bin Laden’s reputation
It seems like the Obama administration is trying to protect bin Laden’s reputation for some reason.
The type of pornography he watched could speak volumes about a man who terrorized the U.S. and other countries for years.
Did he enjoy Western pornography from countries he despised, especially the U.S.? He publicly hated those countries in part for their openness toward sexuality. (He had criticized the United States’ culture as sexualized in a 2002 “letter to America”).
Did he enjoy mainstream commercial pornography or something really twisted?
report out of India claims bin Laden was addicted to the porn movies of Sunny Leone. (See above photos.)
It’s a fascinating footnote in history about a man who terrorized the U.S. at home and abroad for more than a decade.
Reports of the adult videos found in his compound prompted a flurry of mockery from newspapers and comedians.
New York Post front page from May 14, 2011, carried the headline “Osama Bin Wankin’! It’s Whora Bora – Porn found in Laden’s foxhole.”
Matt Bors did a cartoon on the hypocrisy of bin Laden’s porn stash for Daily Kos.
Jimmy Margulies also poked fun at the news.
Denny Lyon included it with a compilation of late-night comedians’ jokes on the bin Laden raid.
Hope n’ Change mocked the story as well.