This is an interesting theory.
If Obama doesn’t release the bin Laden pictures then the iconic imagery of his death, culminate most of a decade of American longing for justice, will be Obama announcing his death and not the picture of bin Laden’s corpse.
It’s certainly true that Obama went through a great deal of trouble to stage the photos of his announcement (more on that here). My own theory, too, is that he isn’t releasing them in order to create a controversy over not releasing them.
A controversy that will distract from the inconvenient narrative about how all the anti-terror policies Bush supported and Obama opposed (foreign detention centers, enhanced interrogations, rendition, etc.) produced the intelligence that lead us to Obama.
Whatever the explanation (and I’m beginning to believe that it’s a combination of the two explanations above) it’s pretty clear that the decision had more to do with politics than national security or policy concerns.
Here’s how Obama explained his decision to keep the photos under wraps to 60 Minutes: