Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Obama Will Not Release Photos of bin Laden, Citing Risks with Facebook’s Privacy Policies

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After days of wrestling with the issue of whether to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse, President Obama announced Wednesday that the images would not be distributed because of potential risks.

“We’ve done DNA sampling and testing, and so there was no doubt we had killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama told correspondents on “60 Minutes,” responding to concerns that the man killed was not the infamous head of al Qaeda. But White House advisers and military leaders certified that bin Laden had died during the U.S. raid on the compound in Pakistan on Monday, and agreed that producing the photos for public viewing could create serious problems for domestic security.

Threat of Retaliation Not the Leading Risk
Interestingly, government security experts denied that fears of retaliation from Islamic extremists directly influenced the President’s decision.

“We’re really not worried about that too much,” said Elmore Herngrove, a spokesperson with the National Security Agency (NSA). “I think now these terrorists know that if they try to mess with us, we’re going to hunt them down and wipe them out. It might take 20 years and billions of dollars in intelligence resources, military strikes against random countries, and the production of new ‘Most Wanted Playing Card’ decks, but we’ll get them. No, the real threat is Facebook.”

According to Herngrove, if the photos were publicly released, their appearance on countless Facebook profiles would be assured. He also admitted that the widespread dissemination of the images could cause some political unrest.

“I won’t deny that. And we are worried about how our allies might perceive our actions in capturing bin Laden; some of the snapshots are pretty brutal. But the chances of the pictures making their way to Muslim extremists are incredibly low. For starters, they don’t have Facebook accounts. We know that. It was the first source we turned to when we got serious about tracking down bin Laden back in 2009.”

Facebook Privacy Policies Misleading, Says Government
“There are greater consequences to be considered in this debate,” Herngrove cautioned. “Because of Facebook’s sneaky privacy policies, it could theoretically own those images forever. We’re not 100-percent certain -- our lawyers are still trying to make sense of the Facebook End User Agreements, which are about as abstruse as credit card contracts -- but we think that Facebook can basically do what it wants with our photos, and that we’ll lose all our intellectual property rights. Sure, we can delete our NSA account, but every other account that posted the pictures would still have them for display, which means that they would still exist on Facebook. The triumph of Osama bin Laden’s death would become the legal property of that Zuckerberg kid, in perpetuity. Knowing him, he’d sell off the rights to some marketing firm, and we’d never see a dime of that money back. That can’t be allowed to happen. We can tackle terrorism and orchestrate stealth attacks on foreign soil, but the government has no jurisdiction where corporations are concerned.”

(c) 2011. All stories are works of satire and parody.

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