Photo: Obama and National Security team during Osama kill operation (UPDATED with found Photoshops)


From the White House photo description on Flickr: "President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured."

Some questions and fleeting observations after viewing the larger size, some of which are picked up from Neil Mann's Twitter feed...

* There was some talk on the news wires of CIA director Leon Panetta and the National Security team watching the operation unfold, real-time, via live video. Is that what they're doing here? And how did that work?
* Are they viewing the moment of the kill, or perhaps the body?
* Wonder what that mosaic'd document was. Guesses?
* The document beneath it looks like the aerial shot of the compound one can also see on Google Earth.
* Next to Obama on the floor, there's a burn bag.
* Man next to Clinton has a "Secret Service" lanyard around his neck.
* Clinton's holding a binder that says "Top Secret Code Word NOFORN, For use in White House Sit Room only."
* They're using HP laptops.
* Ethernet, no wireless.
* Clinton's expression is particularly intense.
* Seating arrangement.

UPDATE: TIME has more context.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

UPDATE: Many photoshops will bloom. Here is one.


And below, by popular demand.





  1. Kinda funny how the Commander-in-Chief gets a tiny jumpseat in the corner while Admiral Facebook there gets the comfy chair. Someone oughta point out whose seal is on the wall behind him. ;^)

    1. while Admiral Facebook there gets the comfy chair

      That’s General Facebook to you, buddy.

      1. That’s General Facebook to you, buddy.

        Oops. No wonder nobody in my family ever made higher than Chief.

        Seriously, though, I recognize Admiral Mullen behind him, and Lithgow there must be National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, and the dude with the lanyard looks like his deputy Denis McDonough…

        So who is Wing Commander Dungeonmaster there running the PowerPoint presentation?

      1. Maybe he picked that seat deliberately, as a show of humility?

        Well, I don’t think it was so much a show of humility as practicality. I imagine Gen. Webb is in charge of the presentation, which would explain why he’s staring at his laptop while everyone else’s gaze is fixed on the big screen, and the Comfy Chair is a better place from which to control the show.

        I was kidding at the top. Everyone’s coming in on a Sunday (hence the shortage of neckties among the civilians), it’s a Seriously Big Deal Event for them, they’re all playing on the same team, and nobody’s gonna get bent outta shape by inferring that the Boss is taking a literal back seat.

        It just looks funny taken out of context. And that’s what we do.

          1. Yes. It’s an open secret among us watchers of the National Security team that the heavy decisionmaking is left to a few of our furry friends from Iota Geminorum IV.

            They’re soft and adorable, and utterly ruthless when it comes to Enemies of the State.

            You have all been warned…

    2. You haven’t watched “Star Trek” much, have you? The captain always gives his seat over to the guy in charge of a tricky maneuver, then takes it back afterward.

      In the same way a freight captain today will give the wheel over to the guy who edges the giant boat into a harbor. He’s still the captain, but he lets the specialist he’s hired do his job.

    1. And doesn’t Grant look worriedly responsible for whatever shenanigan is being analyzed on the screen?

  2. this photo shows one thing. the white house situation room is ghetto. that’s the best we can provide the leader of our country? a handful of crappy HPs without wireless, styrofoam drinking cups and not enough seating?

    1. Agree on the HP craptops, but they’re probably deliberately NOT using wifi, hence the CAT cables.

      1. Those aren’t crappy HPs actually. It’s their high end mobile workstation ones they are using. I own one for my mapping work, and they’re pretty good machines. Assuming they’re using them for anything similar, it would explain the need for ethernet cables, because it’s really hard to share large data sets over wireless.

      2. these are not consumer machines. Look at the keyboards, they come complete with trackpoint/trackstick. These are business grade, and as such holds a very different standard then whatever they offload on the masses.

      3. Consumer grade HP stuff is crap, but their business class elitebooks are actually pretty good. You can get them semi-ruggedized, with military spec shock mounted hard drives, magnesium chassis, etc. I’d rate them slightly below thinkpads, and slightly above dell business class laptops.

    2. When I think “Top Secret,” the first thing that comes to mind is not “wireless network.”

    3. Any sysadmin knows that wireless sucks. It’s a cheap. insecure convenience provided for people who want to sit on the couch while they surf the net. Ethernet will always be more secure, more reliable, and faster.

      1. “Ethernet will always be more secure, more reliable, and faster.”

        You lost me at the word ‘always’, talking about technology…

    4. Unless the room is a faraday cage, wifi is a security nono!

      hell, the stickers on one laptop reads classified (yellow) and top secret (red).

      Could be they even have their wifi hardware physically removed.

    5. According to WikiPedia, the Sit Room was renovated in 2007. Prior to that, even Henry Kissinger (!) described it as “uncomfortable, unaesthetic and essentially oppressive.”

      From the Wiki pix, and an article in the NYT, it’s a fairly long narrow room – most of the photos taken of it are from the vantage point of the one-star shooting down the other way.

    6. Folks have already addressed the “no wireless” part of your comment: In this environment, no wireless is a feature, not a bug.

      But exactly what brand of crappy laptop do you think the US government _should_ buy? The only eligible companies are Dell and HP.

  3. How ’bout some Shocked Cat action here, Xeni? Maybe on Hillary’s laptop screen?

  4. My guess on the image: It’s another satellite map of the compound, but at a resolution that we’re not willing to admit we have the ability to take yet.

    1. Well, judging from at least _some_ of the faces there, I’d guess they’ve had some time in some form of military service. Granted not all of them, but the ones with the best view of things seem like it. (could be wrong…)

      At the very least, Hillary looks pretty grave too. And I have to admit, I like the humanizing aspect of this shot. I forget sometimes that these people are just people.

    2. Because he is the only one who is killing someone. Obama is the one who bears the actual responsibility.

      Everyone else is just “following orders.”

      Which is why you don’t let someone make the choices when they aren’t the one who will bear the responsibility.

  5. You can get your own POTUS mug at Dulles Int’l Airport gift shop if you must have one.

  6. still pretty amazed by these events, not saying good or bad, but they just decided to kill this guy, no capture, no trial, no questions, no permission to enter Pak and the rest of the world has just sort of said, mmmm, ok. yep, somebody really had no friends in high places.

    1. When the government ordered the execution of Che Guevera it was under similar circumstances. I assume they wanted to avoid a show trial where bin Laden could make political remarks about imperialism with the whole world watching. Besides, the shoot-first-ask-questions-later atmosphere in regards to bin Laden was proposed and has been overwhelming the anti-terrorism conversation since Bush first said “Wanted dead or alive.”

      1. show trial

        Funny how a trial becomes a show trial when you don’t like the defendant. That attitude can come straight back and bite you in the Bill of Rights. A government confident in its convictions should want the opportunity to present its case in open court. The Nuremberg Trials had an enormously positive effect on law and public discourse. This will have quite the opposite effect.

        1. Surely it’s called a show trial when one disapproves of the government which is running it?

        2. I used the term show trial more in terms of it being theatrical, but Nuremberg was complete bullshit too. Trying someone for an “act of war” is absurd because you’re both committing the same acts. This has been repeated ad nauseam, but if Germany had won then American Generals would have been tried for their actions during the war. Putting bin Laden on trial would have been a show regardless because it’s not like what the US does overseas on a daily basis isn’t terrorism. If the ICC executed someone every time 3,000 innocent people were killed, every imperial government would be purged like a weekly wash cycle. Terrorism is in the eye of the beholder. I’m not about to defend bin Laden, and as a New Yorker I’m elated he is dead, but I’m not about to pretend that as an American I hold any moral superiority over him. The brand of terrorism I support just happens to be much secular and material.

          1. Boy do you have your history out of line. You may consider the Nuremberg trials “bullshit” from the point of view that the laws and sense of morality enforced there were still fresh and new (before WW1, war was considered a regular tool of diplomacy; before WW2, the ideas of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” were barely established). But the German top brass in Nuremberg wasn’t tried simply for “acts of war” – they were put on trial for their responsibility in things like systematic genocide and the unspeakable atrocities and ideological disregard for human life committed in the process. If you think about it (for a change), you might agree that what the Nazis did is a *bit* on a different level than mere “acts of war.”

    2. On the page linked in the article Time reports that the orders were to capture or kill.

  7. @sean.palmer,
    I was just about to say that it was easy to tell the one person who believes they are ultimately responsible for this action.
    Even if you didn’t know who any of these people are, it’s obvious who is the one who, as you say, “killing someone”.

    1. “I was just about to say that it was easy to tell the one person who believes they are ultimately responsible for this action.”


      The one bit of body language that seems out of place is Biden. He is engaged but relaxed, which makes sense; he is there to observe; he’s the backup; he didn’t send those men in. Most are upset/uneasy about what they are seeing, with a few exceptions. The General (AF?) seated is working and, not surprisingly, very engaged in what he is doing. The Admiral, standing behind him to the left has seen action before (again, not surprising!), my guess is that his primary concern at that moment was the mission and the men carrying it out. The guy in the light blue shirt is bothered by what he is seeing; note that you cannot see his hands at all; that’s unusual for crossed arms, to the point of a ‘self hug’. But at the same time the way he holds his head shows a very different emotion (which is why you really need to see and study people before they are stressed to understand what their body language is telling you).

      Look at Obama’s shoulders. That, and the way he is WAY forward in his chair say a lot. He is there; he knows what is happening is on his authority.

      The other person that jumps out at me is Bill Daily, the WH Chief of staff, in the coat and tie, but I am having trouble figuring out exactly what it is I think he is thinking.

      I checked out the full scale version of the image; the focal point of the photo is Clinton’s face. I don’t know if this was intentional, or if it was simply that that was the focal plane that gave the deepest acceptable image for the folks in the background as well.

  8. Obama looks like he was just walking down the hall and decided to pop in the room that everyone’s hanging out in. He grabbed a chair and was like, “What’s everybody watch….oh.”

  9. > Clinton’s holding a binder that says “Top Secret Code Word NOFORN, For use in White House Sit Room only.”

    I giggled just by thinking to that acronym and her husband.

  10. Obama looks Really Serious. Seems like he and Clinton are the only ones who really see this as taking someone’s life. Everyone else just looks like they’re watching reality TV.

    1. Eh, I dunno. To be honest, the other folks look pretty Serious Business to me. A couple of them even look kind of pissed in that, “DO IT” kind of way. Particularly Secret Service guy.

  11. I cannot stop looking at Hillary, and I’d wager my own expression would have been pretty much the same if I had been in the room.

    * Wonder what that mosaic’d document was. Guesses?

  12. Meanwhile, the General at the head of the table is clearly thinking:

    “Best Counterstrike LAN Party E-V-A-R!’

  13. What’s up with the lady looking over the shoulder of some guy who’s looking over the shoulder of some guy. I think if you’re invited to watch an assassination you shouldn’t have to crane your neck for a good view.

  14. If I had to venture a guess at the mosaic’d document, I’d say it’s a very detailed photo of bin Laden’s compound. We just don’t want the rest of the world to know how detailed our aerial/spy satellite surveillance is.

  15. i think i’ve seen that scene in a Bourne movie and the military guy gets the chair because he seems to be the only one doing the work.

  16. it just amazes me that this room looks more like a “office center” at a holiday inn express (which would have wifi, i mean then at least admiral facebook could update his status more easily)

  17. White House situation room reacts as Daniel Murphy grounds out leaving yet another Mets baserunner stranded during the grueling 14 inning game.

    1. Excellent.
      It’s indeed wonderful to see the whole nation, the world for that matter, united in righteous celebration and gratitude for the courage and herocisim shown by the Mets in their extra-inning victory over the Philles.

    1. In this case NOFORN stands “Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals/Governments/Non-US Citizens” and is simply an indicator of the level of classifiediness, not necessarily THE code word of the operation.

  18. If I turn the laptop 90 degrees clockwise I get the feeling the pixelated pictures is Homer Simpson holding a banana. It is probably a recent picture of OBL, they don’t want you to know because it would giveaway the person who shot it.

  19. Maybe Hillary slipped the photographer a Ben Franklin before the shoot. The eye is so drawn to her, it looks like the rest of them were shopped in as a background.

  20. Pretty sure the staffers back near the door were just ducking in to see if there was any cake left

  21. Now can we hear that explanation one more time as to why we are in wars with Afghanistan and Iraq?

  22. The Sit Room was much bigger and darker on The West Wing. I’m slightly disappointed.

  23. Funny hacks.

    When do we the people get to see what the
    elite saw?

    BTW, UBL isn’t Steve Jobs, Al Q is fine.

  24. OK, here are some attempts at IDs…

    Everyone recognizes Obama, Biden, and Clinton, right?

    John Lithgow is Tom Donilon, the National Security Advisor. The grim Abe Vigoda-looking guy next to him is William Daley, the White House Chief of Staff. The nerdy guy with stars on his collar on the other side of Donilon is Michael Mullen, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Secret-service-lanyard guy is Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor. The guy sitting in front of Clinton is of course William Gates, the Secretary of Defense. Standing behind Clinton is James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence.

    The other four, including General Facebook, I’m not getting. Anyone?

    1. I mentioned it above, but the balding guy in a white shirt at the top right is John Brennan the “counterterrorism czar”.

      1. I think that covers everyone except for Hugh Grant and Joyce DeWitt in the doorway, there. Oh, and Paunchy Q. Blackelbows at far right, and an unidentified tribble at lower left.

    2. Thanks Noah, awesome. An (imaginary) cookie to anyone who can ID the remaining two! (that’d be the background lurkers).

  25. Don’t believe the lies. This is actually a picture of them all watching the Royal Wedding and they just saw Princess Beatrice in her hat.

  26. I love the fact folks are snidely picking apart what the room looks like and how the computers are networked. You know who buys “mall cop” gear? MALL COPS! These people actually do real work.

    But I will add my own observation: So many men wearing so much blue.

  27. On the high res version, I note with 80% certainty that Hillary is clutching the same kind of Zebra Sarasa blue ball point gel pens I use. They really are the best.

    1. I love Zebra Sarasa pens. I got a multicolored set from Japan, 0.4 mm tips, through (which I discovered through a long-ago BB article). Hillary apparently has better taste in writing implements than she does in husbands.

      1. Zebra Sarasa pens rule, and that’s definitely one in Hilary’s hand. I’ve used nothing but them for nigh 15 years now. I’ve never seen the 0.4-tip variety, but the 0.7-tips are readily available at Staples, Office Depot, and the likes. And the multicolor 10-pack is a thing of joy, especially the yellow (but really orange) one. Mmmm.

  28. That Situation Room reminds me of the conference room scene in “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”, the one where everybody can just barely fit between the table and the walls.

  29. I can hardly blame Hillary for that expression. Even for someone in her political position, she probably doesn’t see another human being assassinated everyday. Receive classified reports to that effect? – maybe, actually view the killing…remotely? – not so much.

    @NOAH Thanks!

    @Donald Petersen The boardroom link…funny!

  30. Man just when I think that a Canadian Election might actually be the big news of the week.

  31. Wonder who the conspiracy nuts will peg as the guy with the big black elbows behind Hillary?

    I say it’s Bill, and he’s really running the show.


    Hillary’s look is amazement at how well Obama handled that 3AM phone call.

  32. Lithgow, Grant and some of the others are all just Room Meat, as Malcolm Tucker would say.

  33. The mosaiced image looks like a still from an airborne FMV camera (i.e. Predator/Reaper/et al [i.e. the “drones” in media terms]). Like the unmosaiced image, probably of the same compound, just closer. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t mosaic both of them; given what I can determine by the unmosaiced image, they probably should have.

    Given that no one else is, I don’t think Hillary is necessarily excited about anything (though she could be), she might have just happened to have her hand over her mouth when the picture was taken.

    The computers are wired because they are classified (you can see the Top Secret orange sticker, and the yellow sticker usually representing another classification). Classified networks in almost all situations are not approved for wireless transmissions, and it’s still preferable to wire them, regardless.

  34. Hmm Reminds me of many offices in Canada as everyone runs down the hall to the one office that has live TV during the last minutes of an important daytime hockey game.
    Also, they all appear to be watching one of the side screens, not the main screen.
    That leads me to think they are watching sources from the base camp (helicopter?) on the main screen, then watching helmet cam footage as it unfolds on the other screens..

  35. Imagine all the tales OBL could have told had he (or someone like him) been kept alive. None of that corpus delecti shit here. Not even … if the news is right … a corpse. Shipped quickly to sea like the WTC steel. Ol’ Judge Hang ‘Em High would be proud.

  36. OK so now the link says:

    Seated, from left, are: Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Standing, from left, are: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Tony Binken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Audrey Tomason Director for Counterterrorism; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

  37. this is a photo of an important moment in history. if you want to post photoshops of it, at least post really good or funny ones. these are just lame.

    1. these are just lame.

      No doubt many clever artists are intimidated by the “The photograph may not be manipulated in any way” language at the Flickr site.

      1. No doubt many clever artists are intimidated by the “The photograph may not be manipulated in any way” language at the Flickr site.

        Um, RLY dude? Linked from the high res image:
        A United States government work is prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person’s official duties.

        It is not subject to copyright in the United States and there are no copyright restrictions on reproduction, derivative works, distribution, performance, or display of the work. Anyone may, without restriction under U.S. copyright laws:

        * reproduce the work in print or digital form;
        * create derivative works;
        * perform the work publicly;
        * display the work;
        * distribute copies or digitally transfer the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.

        1. Um, RLY dude?

          Hey, don’t complain at me. The U.S. Government Work license to which you link is littered with exceptions. When you first go to the image originally linked to in this very post, the second paragraph down says, essentially, don’t alter the image.

          I can’t help it if they’re sending mixed signals.

  38. How come Obama is the only one who *looks* like he’s killing someone?

    Only one person is required to use Avada Kedavra.

  39. It would appear that the “mosaic-ed” document is just a different map of Abbottabad

  40. Love the hipster pov.
    After 9/11: Payback is a bitch, imperialist.
    After 5/1: How awful to murder a human being.

  41. I’ve seen enough Battlestar Galactica to say that this is exactly what a war-room should look like.

  42. Do we now know that the goal of this operation was to assassinate bin laden? Because otherwise it seems a bit sensational to call it a “kill operation”. My understanding was that the bad guy didn’t want to come along peacefully?

    IMO there’s a big diffence between a murder, assassination or kill operation and a legitimate attempt to capture bin laden that (as one would expect) ended in a dhootout.

  43. The pixelated document is in fact a photo of the person leading the attack. That person is Alf. Ever since his television series went under back in the 80’s he has been doing black bag jobs for the CIA.

  44. Thank you to the two hundred people who linked to Brigadier General Webb’s profile. Your research prowess is impressive. Now please work on reading the comment thread to see if what you’re about to post is already there.

  45. I can not shake it…I am in love with Hillary. I don’t know what or why but my 40 year old heart goes pitty-patter every time I see her…Love her

  46. Behind Hilary, surely that’s Malcolm Tucker, the erstwhile Director of Communications at No. 10 (as depicted in The Thick of It by Peter Capaldi)? How the heck did he get there?

  47. The “mosaic’d” image is a close-up view of the central part of the compound, well inside the actual compound perimeter. The southern wall tip is pointing towards Clinton, the dark part in the “upper” (i.e. in this orientation the left) end, away from Clinton, is a part of the northern compound wall and its shadow. It’s obviously “mosaic’d” to keep the precise capabilities of an aerial reconnaissance asset secret (which is several magnitudes better than what the public is familiar with in Google Earth and the like).

  48. Hilary: “Oh my god! I can’t believe Jamie Lannister just shoved that kid out a window!”

  49. To me Hilary’s expression says: “Please God, don’t let us fck this up. Please God, do not let us fck this up. PLEASE God, do NOT let us fck this up.” I’m damn sure that’s one of the main things that would be running through my mind.

  50. Anon #40: There’s an interesting article in this month’s (or maybe it was last month’s) Harper’s, suggesting that civilian control of the US miltary has broken down entirely in the US. This photo says it all.

  51. Those expressions remind me of how we felt when we saw the last episode of Lost.

  52. I can’t help myself. This is an amazing photo, and it deserves good ‘shopping. Here’s my attempt:

    I’m halfway to what I envision (no, not just a room full of Mrs. Clinton). If it please thee, encourage me to keep at it. If not, and/or if I’m out of line posting this, I’ll drop it. (But I really want to keep at it…)

  53. I interpret Hillary Clinton’s expression as concern for the soldiers, not for Bin Laden.

    Did anyone tell Trump that Tupac and Biggie are hiding out in the Situation Room?

  54. Is the depth of focus not odd choice for the photographer to make? Obama is definitely not the focal point there but the document and Hilary are. Where as the board room table shot has the expected wide DOF for documentary photography.

    1. I thought the same thing. Was bin Laden, by any chance, killed in a bathtub, with a hammer or by being talked into jumping off a building?

  55. This is a very historic picture, of the USA’s top peeps likely witnessing in realtime video one of the most significant US Special Operations actions in history, period. The stakes involved are extremely high. We have significant SEAL and other forces involved, all of whom are at very high risk. They are operating within the borders of a foreign nation they do not have clearance to be in, a nation that has nuclear weapons at that. And let us not forget, they are on the verge of possibly taking out the head of the organization responsible for 9-11. I think they really deserve to have intense or even shocked expressions on their faces.

    I almost fell off the shitter reading the news this morning on my iPhone. Total state of shock. And yes, to be frank, I am very, very happy at how this went down.

    What happens between the USA and Pakistan now, however? That’s not going to be happy-time. Very, very difficult to believe Osama was “hiding in plane sight” for at least 3 years without anyone in the Pakistani military or intelligence apparatus being suspicious.

    1. they are on the verge of possibly taking out the head of the organization responsible for 9-11.

      Technically, they are on the verge of taking out the head of the organization possibly responsible for 9-11.

      Yes, Osama Bin Laden took credit for it, but proof is still outstanding.

  56. Always focus on the woman’s eyes if you want the photo to sell, ask any wedding photographer. In the hi-res version, Hilary’s eyes are tack sharp.

    Pete Souza is the photographer. Check out “The President’s Photographer” on PBS.

  57. RE: HP Notebooks. This is more than likely in the Pentagon. The White House has an exclusive contract with Dell. The Pentagon has a contract with HP… soon to expire btw.

    1. Noticed how the only person working (the General) is using a Dell (Latitude E-series, recognizable by the lighted power cable), while all the HP’s are unused?

      Does this mean anything?

  58. AHA!!

    So this is how the world’s secret NWO underground bunker headquarters looks like!!

    Where’s the slick interior?
    Glass panel bullet proof doors?
    Where are all the see through 3D touch screens?
    Why are the lights on?
    Where are all the headsets and armed highly trained security guards in slick nazi like uniforms?
    Where’s all the Illuminati symbolic artwork on the walls?

  59. I saw this on the front page of the Metro this morning, and my first reaction was “Terrible PR.”

    I mean, really. It’s good that it’s an honest picture and all, but Obama does not look in charge here at all. He has pressed his seat way back in the corner, like he didn’t want to be in anyone’s way.

    Again, that’s fine in the actual room, but from a PR standpoint, he should look in charge. His speech, after all, was all about how he convened meetings, and he gave the final orders. It was very much aimed at showing that he was in charge, and he got bin Laden.

    If I was the White House Chief of Press, I would have never released this photo. It casts the president in a back-seat light, which fits too nicely in the existing the right wing story.

    1. Seating arrangement speculation: My understanding of seating arrangements at the situation room is that the President and highest ranking members of the National Security Team (VP Biden, Secretary of State Clinton) would be seated at the center of the table in rather large, impressive, (and likely hard to move) chairs. Lower ranking team members like the Admiral would sit towards the ends of the table. Aides to the team members might have lower, smaller chairs and sit along the wall behind their bosses.

      It looks like Obama got up from his chair and moved to one of these support staff chairs the end of the room to get a better view of the live feed on the monitors, and Biden and Clinton just moved to the side a bit.

  60. The choice of Geronimo as OBL codename was a poorly hidden message to the native Americans that they still are considered an enemy to the USA.

  61. The caption identifies the woman standing in the back as “Audrey Thompson, Director for Counterterrorism”. Google seems to unable find any pages which link that name with that title. How do you get a post significant enough to get you a place in that room without leaving a web footprint? Likely by working for a certain agency.

    1. Spelling her name properly might help you out on that search :)

      Her footprint is very small but there are hints once you get rid of all the copies of this picture there are floating around.

  62. And yet, somehow, Obama manages to be the most badass looking person in the picture.

  63. I just realized what that picture reminds me of.

    Larry Niven short story, “Grendel”, from 1968, found in the _Neutron Star_ collection. An alien sculptor creates a work showing the passengers (and crew?) of a starship gathered in the ship’s lounge to observe a rare phenomenon (which he himself could not ‘see’). Everyone but the photographer/sculptor focused intently on the screen.

  64. Yeah, the fact that they have an Ethernet and not a wireless connection serves a purpose: it’s more secure.

  65. Denis McDonough (Secret Service neckstrap) looks like Tony Snow when Snow was sick in his last years. My first impression after “holy cow, Hillary is freaked” was “I thought Tony Snow was dead.”

  66. Just came across this site via google search. It’s going to be interesting to see the photoshop jobs that come out of this.

    I hope they’re better than the photoshop job the photographer did of this in the first place though. Check out this photo of the empty situation room:

    this looks like a combination of 2 photos to me. The Presidential seal and the table and the people seated around the table taken from one angle, the doorway and the guys in front of it who’s lighting doesn’t seem to fit with anyone else, taken from another angle. Note the Presidential Seal in the Situation room is in the middle of the back wall, the doorway in the photograph is in the right hand corner and has no presidential seal on the wall. If you follow the geography of the room all the guys would seem to be looking out of the doorway on the opposite side of the room. Meanwhile the giant wooden table has been rotated through 90 degrees. Take a closer look at the high res image and google image search the situation room.

    1. I did search for photos and your photo is clearly (from the alcoves and wood panel) of the south opposite wall that is covered in monitors which the people are looking at. Slide panels covering the monitors, or just a different decoration. High tech seems to be added regularly since Obama moved in.

      I found no other photo covering the briefing room door but the corner where the burn bag is is visible on several photos at wikimedia. Maybe the seal was moved to the north wall when all the monitors were installed?

  67. Is it just me or does Obama look like he was Photoshopped in? it just looks off to me, dont know if it is the shadow or a problem of scale.

  68. Anon at #181 wins the prize. It turns out the picture was posed. A big photo op that will be used later on in 2012.

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