Washington: A US navy SEAL who helped kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011 allegedly kept an unauthorised photo of the corpse of the world’s most wanted terrorist, a US news site reported.
Matthew Bissonnette turned over a hard drive that contained the photo to US investigators in exchange for an agreement that he would not be prosecuted for unlawfully possessing classified material, the Intercept reported on Tuesday.
The Obama administration has never released images of bin Laden’s body, fearing that the photos would trigger a backlash. It has has maintained that the al-Qaida leader was buried at sea shortly after the raid.
Bissonnette, who reportedly shot bin Laden during the raid on the al-Qaida leader’s compound in the garrison city of Abbottabad in Pakistan, had been under investigation for allegedly making public classified information in his book about the 2011 incident, “No Easy Day.”
Bissonnette’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, declined to comment to CNN on the contents of the Intercept article, the specifics of the information in question and whether there has been any ongoing contact between the Pentagon and Bissonnette’s legal representation.
He did, however, said that previously a “government investigation into alleged mishandling or improper disclosure of classified information by Matthew Bissonnette was closed in August 2015 with a declination.”
The decision to hand over the hard drive reportedly allowed the naval criminal investigative service and justice department investigators to discover records tied to Bissonnette’s work as a consultant while also serving as a member of Navy SEAL Team 6, the CNN report said.