Obama decides against release of Osama photos
"It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies," Obama said on Wednesday.
In an interview with CBS News, whose transcripts were read out by his spokesman at a crowded White House news conference, the president said: "The fact of the matter is Osama was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received, and I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone."
Obama added he had seen those pictures. "We discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. So there was no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden,” he said.
When asked there were people in Pakistan who doubted the Al Qaeda chief's death, the US president said: "The truth is that we were monitoring worldwide reaction. There is no doubt that Osama is dead. Certainly, there is no doubt among Al Qaeda members that he is dead."
A day earlier, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the picture would be released, but a final decision in this regard would be taken by the White House. "The bottom line is that, you know, we got bin Laden and we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him," Panetta told Nightly News.
Republican leader, Sarah Palin, demanded the pictures be released. “Show photos as warning to others, seeking America's destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama; it's part of the mission," Palin tweeted.
Senator Lindsay Graham termed it a mistake. "The whole purpose of sending our soldiers into the compound, rather than an aerial bombardment, was to obtain indisputable proof of bin Laden's death. I know he is dead. But the best way to protect and defend our interests overseas is to prove that fact to the rest of the world."
However, many Congress members supported the decision. "I understand the president's decision and will not oppose it. While I have said that a photo release may be a good way to combat conspiracy theories, this is a decision for the president to make, and I respect it," said Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Committee.
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