Obama won't release bin Laden photos

2011-05-04 20:31

Washington - US President Barack Obama has decided not to release a photograph showing the body of Osama bin Laden after he was killed by US commandos, US television networks said on Wednesday.

In an interview with CBS, Obama said "he won't release post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden taken to prove his death", the network said in a statement.

The CBS interview for its 60 Minutes programme is due to air on Sunday and comes after commandos over the weekend stormed bin Laden's hideout in a Pakistani compound and shot him dead.

US officials who have seen the pictures of bin Laden's body have described them as gruesome.

There are fears that if the photos are released they could provoke anger and trigger a backlash against US personnel in the Muslim world.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were both advising Obama about concerns at the Pentagon and state department over releasing the photograph, ABC television said.

On Capitol Hill, a number of senators and congressmen said they had been shown the picture.

House intelligence committee chairperson Mike Rogers said he had seen the photo and was reluctant for it to be released, saying he was concerned for the security of American troops abroad.

"The risks of release outweigh the benefits," Rogers said, saying conspiracy theorists would just claim it was doctored anyway.

"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.

"Osama bin Laden is not a trophy - he is dead," the lawmaker said.

"Let's now focus on continuing the fight until al-Qaeda has been eliminated."

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  barack obama  |  osama bin laden  |  us  |  security

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