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US Navy SEAL had photo of Osama bin Laden's corpse: report

January 20, 2016

WASHINGTON: A former United States (US) Navy SEAL kept an unauthorised photo of Osama bin Laden's corpse on a computer that he turned over to investigators, US-based news website The Intercept reported Tuesday.

The discovery came after Matthew Bissonnette, who shot Osama in the infamous 2011 raid on the Al Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan, gave investigators a copy of his hard drive.

He had been under investigation for allegedly revealing classified information in his book about the incident, "No Easy Day".

Bissonnette gave investigators his hard drive as part of a deal to avoid prosecution over the material, two people familiar with the deal told The Intercept.

On it, they found the photo and documents detailing Bissonnette's work as a consultant while also serving with SEAL Team 6, the Intercept reported.

The US government has never released images of Osama's body and says the Al Qaeda leader was buried at sea shortly after the raid.

President Barack Obama has cited national security risks and said the US should not brandish "trophies" of its victory.

Robert Luskin, an attorney for Bissonnette, told The Intercept his client had previously been under investigation, but the Department of Justice closed that probe in August.

Luskin said he brokered a deal in 2014 for Bissonnette to give the US government some of his millions of dollars in book profits. He did not comment on the purported photo, or whether an investigation remained open.

Aside from the image, some of the records found on Bissonnette's computer were not part of the non-prosecution deal, so led to a widening probe being conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, The Intercept reported.

Investigators have started looking into Bissonnette's business deals, and whether he inappropriately used his SEAL connections to help in ventures with military equipment-supply firms, The Intercept wrote.

Osama bin Laden was killed in May 2011 when SEALs stormed his hideaway in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Explore: In-depth coverage: Osama Bin Laden