Best reason to withhold the photos is, "We are not ghouls, we are better than that."
Say you are a jihadist true believer who has been living a brutal life hiding out in caves comforted only by the knowledge that your leader was living the same martyr's life. How would you feel finding out your hero was the sleeping on a soft mattress in a suburban mansion? Would that knowledge make your rocky bed a little more uncomfortable?
|At least Osama didn't have cable.|
Everyone knew that bin Laden was hiding out in Pakistan (although none of us guessed he was living the high life there). It sort of fell into the category of "where the fuck else could he be." So there is really no surprise he was found there.
Everyone also knew that high ranking elements of the Pakistani government were protecting him. The only thing that has changed is the gullibility necessary to believe otherwise.
That the US knew exactly where bin Laden was hiding was not a well kept secret. A NATO official leaked it seven months ago.