In The News

Questions Abound After Bin Laden's Death, By John Jessup

WASHINGTON -- While U.S. Intelligence officials warn Osama bin Laden's death could lead to retaliation, it could also deal a more crippling blow to the terrorist group al Qaeda.

During Sunday's covert raid on bin Laden's million-dollar compound outside the Pakistan's capital city, U.S. Navy Seals recovered a treasure trove of documents, DVD's, and computer hard drives that may expose more cracks in the terrorist network.

Intelligence officials are reviewing the information in hopes that it could lead them to al Qaeda's No. 2 and likely bin Laden successor, Ayman al-Zawahri.

Meanwhile, at a bipartisan congressional dinner in Washington, D.C., Monday night, there was a sense of unity as the nation's leaders balanced a message of vigilance and victory.

"Americans learned that the United States had carried out an operation that resulted in the capture and death of Osama bin Laden," President Obama said in his speech that was met by applause and a standing ovation.

Others applied the 9/11 mastermind's demise to the recent Arab uprisings.

"The peaceful, youth-driven democratic revolutions now taking place in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria are the true repudiation of 'bin Ladenism.' His extreme ideology is the weak horse and democracy is the strong horse after all," Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said.

But not everyone agrees. Many analysts have warned about the potential rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the success of Sunday's mission has also highlighted what critics call a failure on the part of a key partner in the region.

"Pakistan remains a critical, but uncertain ally in the fight against terrorism. This tells us once again that, unfortunately, Pakistan is at times playing a double game," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said.

In the wake of growing criticism, the Pakistani government denies that it knew or provided sanctuary for bin Laden.

However, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill say Pakistan has a lot of explaining to do.

"If you're harboring terrorists, then you're our enemy and I don't think it could be any clearer than that. They were harboring enemies who were orchestrating killing Americans. How is that our friend?" Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, asked.

There is also the question of proof of bin Laden's death. Skeptics want to see hard evidence that the terrorist leader was indeed killed. The administration is determining whether to release photos of the body before it was buried at sea.

Lawmakers on both the right and left say they have no doubt that bin Laden was killed, but they concede the administration will probably need to release photos to prevent conspiracy theories from taking root.