Wednesday, 4 May 2011

CBS: Obama says he won’t release bin Laden photos

CBS: Obama says he won’t release bin Laden photos

View Photo Gallery —  Al-Qaeda leader’s death comes nearly a decade after attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
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By William Branigin, Updated: Wednesday, May 4, 6:58 PM
President Obama has decided not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s body, CBS News reported Wednesday.

The network said Obama told “60 Minutes” reporter Steve Kroft of his decision in an interview scheduled to air Sunday.

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Bin Laden was shot in the head and chest in a U.S. commando raid on his compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad early Monday local time. The al-Qaeda leader’s body was then flown out by helicopter and subsequently buried at sea following Islamic rites aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, according to U.S. officials.

Officials have said photos were taken of the corpse showing a gaping wound in bin Laden’s head.

A debate over whether to release the photos publicly — in part to convince skeptics that bin Laden was really killed — has apparently ensued within the Obama administration.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that officials were still evaluating whether to release the photos, mindful of the “sensitivities” surrounding such a release and the question of whether doing so would serve U.S. interests. He said the photo showing the head wound, which also is apparently the image that most clearly identifies the corpse as bin Laden’s, is “gruesome” and “could be inflammatory.”

But CIA Director Leon Panetta said later that he believed the administration would ultimately release the photos. He said the “final decision” on that was up to the White House.

Panetta told reporters that, in any case, “I don’t think you have to convince the world because of the DNA and all of the other proof that we have.”

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