As a news organization and dedicated “watchdog” on government, we relentlessly insist on full disclosure of public information. We believe, adamantly, in government transparency. We are committed to defending, vociferously and stridently if need be, the public’s right to know.

But there are occasions, rare occasions, when something comes along that we just don’t need to know — or, in this case, just don’t need to see.

And that is our view when it comes to the photographs of Osama bin Laden’s dead body.

President Obama was under considerable pressure from a variety of sources, including the news media, to release the pictures taken of bin Laden after the al-Qaida terrorist leader was killed in a U.S. raid on his hideout in Pakistan this week. By resisting the pressure and refusing to release the photos for public viewing, the president demonstrated courage, impeccable judgment and just plain good taste.

What purpose would be served by showing those pictures to the world?

Would they prove to skeptics that bin Laden is dead? Those who won’t take the president’s word for it would undoubtedly question the authenticity of the photographs.

Would seeing the pictures enhance Americans’ sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was found and gunned down? Could we be any more satisfied than we were when throngs of Americans erupted in spontaneous celebrations after hearing the news that bin Laden had been killed?

The president said that releasing the pictures might be construed as gloating, and “that’s not who we are.”

“We don’t need to spike the football,” he said.

Obama also was concerned that the pictures could be used as propaganda to incite our enemies. They could be and would be.

And then there’s the issue of pop-culture excess. Put these pictures into the public domain and how long would be it before they turned up on T-shirts and bumper stickers? Thank you, Mr. President, for sparing us that insult to our sensibilities.

There is just no compelling reason to release these pictures. There are many compelling reasons not to.