In an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” President Obama will confirm that the White House has no plans to release images of Osama bin Laden that were taken by US troops to prove he is dead.
According to a transcript read aloud at a White House press briefing, Obama said: “We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies. We don’t need to spike the football…given the graphic nature of the photo it would create national security risk.”
There has, as the New York Times reports, been a strong debate about the issue of the bin Laden death photograph. While some senior officials have said the release of photos was inevitable others have argued against it.
On Tuesday, the director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, said he did not think “there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public”.
However, the Pentagon and State Department expressed qualms a view supported by Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. Earlier today he said that the Obama administration should not release the post-mortem images. He argued it could complicate the job for US troops overseas.
“The risks of release outweigh the benefits,” Rogers 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.”
It is almost certainly the right call. While many are calling for the release of the pic does anyone of note doubt that bin Laden is really dead? I doubt it. And that being the case is there a need to release a gruesome picture of bin Laden?
If published it will end up in every newspapers around the world. It will be splashed on hundreds of frontpages, a media incitement almost, which will no doubt inflame muslim opinion. Let dead terrorist leaders lie. As that that stands that is at the bottom of a dark and very cold ocean.