CIA analysts have reportedly found a sizable stash of video pornography among the material commandos seized from Osama bin Laden's hideout, current and former U.S. officials told Reuters. Though pornography is considered haram, or taboo, in the Islamic world, it's unclear whose porn it was, or whether bin Laden himself had even viewed it. Is this a revealing glimpse at a religious extremist's hypocritical private life, or just a clever fiction to discredit our enemies in the war on terror?
This is typical of extremist hypocrisy: Maybe the secret porn stash belonged to Osama bin Laden, says Glenn Church at Foolocracy, or maybe it belonged to one of his sons. In any case, "its presence runs counter to the hardline Islamic views of bin Laden." But that's hardly surprising. "Religious extremists, whether Muslim or Christian, are quick to condemn others as immoral but are often caught with their pants down, literally."
"Bin Laden's porn stash is nothing to be surprised about"
The CIA might have concocted the story: "I have no problem believing that bin Laden was a hypocrite," says Auburn University professor Roderick T. Long, as quoted by Britain's Independent. "But I also have no problem believing that the U.S. government is a liar." So bin Laden's "alleged porn collection" could be evidence that he didn't practice what he preached, but it could just as easily be CIA propaganda.
"Did bin Laden really have secret porn stash?"
Terrorists might use porn to hide messages about attacks: The bin Laden porn stash might be more than an Islamic terrorist's dirty secret, says Merv Benson at Prairie Pundit. Al Qaeda operatives have been known to hide messages in pictures, videos, and other digital files. "That would have been a good reason to have it on hand," and you can bet the CIA will examine this smut to see if it contains messages from bin Laden to his followers in the field.
"What was behind bin Laden's porn collection?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- How Hillary Clinton's 'smart power' turned Libya into a dumpster fire
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
Subscribe to the Week