I think I saw the first link to a picture purporting to be the dead body of Osama bin Laden within an hour or two of the President’s speech last night.

That’s pretty common at moment’s like this. A flurry of links are sent around and it becomes a race to see which doctored photo starts to get traction.

But there are pictures of Osama bin Laden’s dead body. The question now — should they be released?

Jake Tapper at ABC News writes:

The Obama administration has photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body and officials are debating what to do with them and whether they should be released to the public, officials tell ABC News.

“There’s no doubt it’s him,” says a US official who has seen the pictures and also reminds us that OBL was 6’4”.

The argument for releasing them: to ensure that the public knows and can appreciate that he’s dead. There is of course skepticism throughout the world that the US government claim that it killed bin Laden is true.

The argument against releasing the pictures: they’re gruesome. He has a massive head wound above his left eye where he took bullet, with brains and blood visible.

Fox News is asking the same question, and reporting on the initial process of identifying OBL:

Bill Hemmer just reported that a senior U.S. official confirms that a U.S. Navy Seal identified Usama bin Laden by sight before he was shot with a single bullet to the head. He was not ravaged, or starved, from his years in hiding and had “been living well”. On site, the Seals began a second step in the identification process which included “facial recognition pulls”, including taking his height and comparing his ears, nose and mouth to known photos of Usama bin Laden. Then, DNA testing began.

The official says the White House is deciding when, how and if to release the photo of bin Laden to avoid the growing narrative of conspiracy theories about his death.

So here is a simple poll (and of course you can post more detailed opinions in comments):

Sky News is asking “Can US offer final proof of Osama’s death“?

US personnel have so far said they identified him by facial recognition, but have declined to say whether they used DNA analysis.

Reports have also suggested that Saudi Arabia was asked to take bin Laden’s body – but refused to do so.

The fact his body was buried at sea has so far only added to the speculation, although as a Muslim, he had to be laid to rest as quickly as possible.

Under Islamic law, people can only be buried at sea if they died there, or if there is a risk their body will be exhumed or dug up if buried in the ground.

The release of a photograph purporting to show bin Laden’s corpse – which was later confirmed to be a fake – added to the confusion.

Journalists have not yet had the opportunity to ask more than a few questions of the Obama administration about details of bin Laden’s death.

A former British ambassador to the US, Sir Christopher Meyer, told Sky News: “I imagine we will see proof.

“I can’t concede the US president would go out to make a statement to the world that bin Laden is dead without being able to produce evidence that he is dead.

Keep reading here.