TEL AVIV – Hillary Clinton’s longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal suggested that the Obama administration use photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body to turn Congress into trophies and “liegemen bowing before” Obama, Clinton’s newly released private emails reveal.
Blumenthal further suggested that the post-mortem images should be exploited for debt ceiling negotiations to get “far right-wing Tea Party Republicans” to “admit to the President’s status above them and to his effectiveness.”
The latest batch of 550 emails released on Saturday by the State Department contain a May 5, 2011 Blumenthal dispatch to Clinton titled, “OBL photos.”
The email was sent in the wake of bin Laden’s May 2, 2011 elimination by U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan. Bin Laden’s body was buried at sea and the government has kept photos of his corpse private, fearing the images would trigger violent backlash.
Blumenthal, however, saw an opportunity and suggested that the Obama administration could use the post-mortem photos in a publicity blitz with multiple political agendas.
“Yes, there is a Third Way—on the Bin Laden photos,” wrote Blumenthal. The reference was to Bill Clinton’s economic philosophy, referred to as the “third way,” which called for business and government to join hands as partners.
Blumenthal said the administration should show the bin Laden images to every member of Congress in a special secure room, “something like when members were permitted to view Abu Ghraib pictures,” he wrote.
“This event should be staged over two or three days, occupying most of a work week, and continuing to dominate the public and congressional mind,” he wrote. “Don’t let the photos serve as trophies; instead take the Congress as trophy using the photos.”
“Here are the reasons: Having the members file through will provide testimony to the President’s feat. They will be not only acknowledging but also enhancing his power. They will in effect become liegemen bowing before him, but not in any way they will resent or will protest.
“They will serve as witnesses to the magnitude of what he has done. Each of them will emerge speaking to the national and local press on what they have seen. Their words will be descriptive, but they will not be equivalent to graphic images that could be circulated themselves and have mischievous consequences.”
Blumenthal believed the images should be used to gain leverage with Republicans in debt ceiling talks and to lower the stature of “far right-wing Tea Party Republicans.”
“Having the whole Congress see the photos would have these likely impacts as well: The far right-wing Tea Party Republicans would by their mere presence admit to the President’s status above them and to his effectiveness.
“There would also be a salutary effect at the beginning of the negotiations on the debt ceiling. It would curb the ability of the Republicans to appeal to partisan sentiment and indulge in partisan rhetoric, giving the administration more edge.”
Blumenthal saw added value in utilizing the photos to “suppress any potential ‘Deather’ movement, that the administration has either fabricated the event or suppressed some aspect of it.”
In a May 4, 2011 interview with “60 Minutes,” Obama announced his decision to not release the bin Laden death photos.
“It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool,” Obama stated.
“We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” Obama added. “The fact of the matter is, this is somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.