In an interview for Sunday’s upcoming episode of “60 Minutes,” President Obama said that he has decided against releasing photos confirming Osama bin Laden’s death. “The risks of release outweigh the benefits,” he said.
As Obama knows from personal experience, people believe what they want to, and conspiracy theorists and others would claim the photos had been doctored. Perhaps more important, releasing the gruesome evidence would ignite outrage among many in the Middle East.
There has been a good deal of debate in the past two days over whether the White House should release images of bin Laden’s bloodied corpse. On Tuesday, CIA director Leon Panetta said there was no question that “ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public.” But other senior administration officials and lawmakers objected to the idea, warning that such a move could put American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq at greater risk than they already are.
“Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet,” said the President. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy--he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaeda has been eliminated.”
(Photo: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)