The raging debate over whether the death photos of Osama bin Laden should be released or not to quell rumors has unknowingly only managed to strengthen the voice of conspiracy theorists.
Top White House officials and lawmakers are divided over whether they should release the official death photos of the dreaded terrorist.
The gruesome and morbid photos allegedly show a bloodied face of bin Laden with a part of his head blown off and brain exposed. bin Laden was allegedly shot in the forehead and chest.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have advised U.S. President Barack Obama not to release the photos as they feel it could be inflammatory and prompt a backlash against the U.S. for killing bin Laden.
The House's Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Rep. Mike Rogers also said Obama is reluctant in releasing the death photos as conspiracy theorists are going to see the pictures and find ten reasons why they think it’s someone else.
Rogers, speaking to NBC News, said release of the photos can also jeopardize military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere as many can misunderstand it as an anti-Muslim action and inflame hatred.
However, CIA Director Leon Panetta has told NBC News that releasing a photo is important because we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get [bin Laden] and kill him.
Agrees Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican and member of the House Intelligence Committee. The photos have to be released most definitely, to make sure we get rid of any conspiracy theorists that think we did not take care of bin Laden, Heck said in an online interview with ABC News.
Rep. Andre Carson, one of the two Muslim lawmakers in Congress also said bin Laden's death photos should be released.
According to Carson, bin Laden clearly posed a threat to the United States and to the world and the world should be made aware that he is truly dead and gone.
Not only did he kill Americans and jeopardize the lives of Americans, but Muslims as well, Carson told The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress. I think that publishing this photo - the administration has a right.
University of Michigan Professor of Law Steven Ratner also said there isn't any rule of international human rights that per se prohibits release of photos of the dead.
Meanwhile, the delay in the government coming to a firm decision whether or not the death photos should be released has only helped strengthen the voices of conspiracy theorists and skeptics.
According to the conspiracy theorists, the whole U.S. operation was a hoax and meant only to whip up a positive frenzy and boost Obama's popularity ratings before the 2012 elections.
Some people believe that bin Laden is dead but he died several years back, murdered by one of his own men, and the U.S. government kept the news a secret.
Other conspiracy theorists claim bin Laden is dead but not buried at sea. They believe his corpse is lying in a secret military compound in the United States.
Some say bin Laden was captured alive and is kept a prisoner for questioning. Why would the U.S. forces kill bin Laden, especially if he was unarmed (the U.S. government in an earlier announcement said bin Laden died in a firefight), and hurriedly dump his body at sea, when he is worth million times more to them captured alive?
And, yet, some others even believe that he is still alive and roaming free and preparing to release a new video and have a hearty laugh at the expense of gullible Americans.
Moreover, the raging debate over release of bin Laden's death photos have prompted fake death photos to make rounds in the Internet and the FBI has already issued a warning that cyber criminals and hackers are also likely to use the situation to their advantage by releasing emails that purportedly contain the death photos but actually contain virus.
Update: The U.S. government announced Wednesday afternoon (EST) that it has decided not to release Osama bin Laden's death photos and will instead keep them classified. The government's decision is certain to spark more debate and fuel more conspiracy theories.
What do you think? Is it worth releasing the death photos of bin Laden to prove that he is dead or should we have faith in and believe whatever the U.S. government has told us till now? Leave your comments below.