President Barack Obama has decided not to release death photos of terrorist Osama bin Laden, he said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes," amid concerns that the gruesome image could prove inflammatory.
Obama's decision was reported on the CBS News Web site Wednesday after the president sat for an interview with the news magazine program.
Releasing graphic images of bin Laden's corpse after his shooting in a U.S. raid on his compound could have dispelled doubts that bin Laden is indeed dead. The worry, though, was that it would feed anti-U.S. sentiment.
The president made his decision as the Navy SEALS involved in the daring raid in Pakistan arrived in the U.S. for debriefing, and U.S. officials began to comb through the intelligence trove of computer files, flash drives, DVDs and documents that the commandos hauled out of the terrorist's hideaway.
Obama prepared to visit New York City on Thursday to lay a wreath at Ground Zero and visit with 9/11 families and first responders.
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."
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