In an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday’s 60 Minutes, US President Obama says he won’t release post-mortem images of Osama Bin Laden taken to prove his death.
Video of the comments will appear on the CBS “Evening News” on Wednesday.
Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Wednesday that the Obama administration should not release the gruesome postmortem images, saying it could complicate the job for American troops overseas.
“The risks of release outweigh the benefits,” he said. “Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East.”
“Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaida killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet,” he continued. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy – he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaida has been eliminated.”
Skeptics have called on the United States to release photos of bin Laden, who officials say was shot in the face during a raid on his compound, in order to prove that the al Qaeda leader is really dead.
The White House has said it was debating whether to release the photographs, which are believed to be extremely graphic. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the photos could inflame anti-American sentiment.
CIA director Leon Panetta told CBS News Tuesday that he thought a photo would be released, though he said the White House will make the final decision. Panetta told NBC News that “I don’t think there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public.”
Two Republican senators — Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, a member of the Armed Services Committee – told CBS News Wednesday they had seen post-mortem photographs of bin Laden.
Photoshopped images purporting to show bin Laden after he was killed have already surfaced on the Internet. CBS
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