I wouldn’t contrive a defence of Tom Mulcair, the NDP’s deputy leader, if I thought he’d said something truly lunatic. I’d be likelier to make some popcorn and enjoy the show. But I’ve heard chatter to the effect that he seems, in this interview, to be denying that Osama bin Laden was actually shot the other night outside Islamabad by U.S. forces. (This story includes some Twitter traffic along the same lines.) That would be fake-moon-landing loony — but while it would certainly be entertaining, I don’t think that’s what Mulcair is saying. (Evan Solomon missed a chance to ask the clear question — “Are you saying the Americans didn’t kill bin Laden?” — perhaps because Mulcair’s first answer opened up vistas of possible weird that Evan wasn’t quite prepared to navigate.)

As I understand it, Mulcair is accusing the White House of wanting to release as little information about what went on in that villa as possible, because it’s not clear whether the terrorist leader died in the crossfire of a firefight or was simply executed. There would be international-law implications if the latter, but I’m out of my depth in discussing those. What is clear is that the White House’s story has changed in unflattering ways. You may find it outrageous enough that he’s saying the White House would claim to have evidence it doesn’t have. I do wish there were no precedent for such a thing.

I’m pretty sure bin Laden is dead, that US soldiers did the deed, that they took photos as part of a meticulously planned operation, and that the President doesn’t want to release them for reasons I find mostly decent. I take Mulcair to be agreeing with the first two assertions and contesting the third and fourth. Your mileage may vary.

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