Tuesday, May 3, 2011
WH mulling over releasing bin Laden death photos
(Bloomberg) -- Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, the Obama administration may need to prove it by showing photos of the world's most infamous terrorist after he was shot in the head.
"They need to release some verifiable information that it was bin Laden," said Brian Katulis, a Middle East and South Asia scholar at the Center for American Progress in Washington who visited Pakistan in February. "You won't convince everybody, but you need to marginalize the conspiracy theorists."
President Barack Obama is weighing whether to release a photo of bin Laden's body, which U.S. forces identified through photo comparisons, DNA, and other means. Bin Laden's body, weighted down, was released into the Arabian Sea following an Islamic funeral ritual performed aboard a ship by U.S. military officers, according to the administration.
"We may release photos, yes," John Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, said today in an interview with National Public Radio. While he said no one doubts bin Laden is dead, "I know there are some people who are interested in having that visual proof."
Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who leads the Senate Armed Services Committee, said photos of bin Laden "should be released" at some point, though a release may be delayed to let reaction to the killing "cool down."
'Quell Any Doubts'
A release of photos may be needed "to quell any doubts that this somehow is a ruse that the American government has carried out," said Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent and chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Maine Senator Susan Collins, the panel's senior Republican, said she agreed that the release of photos or DNA evidence may be needed to counter "those who will try to generate this myth that he's alive and that we missed him somehow."
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said releasing photos of bin Laden may do little to convince al-Qaeda sympathizers that the U.S. is being truthful.
"Even if you show the picture, there'll be skeptics," Powell said on CNN. Asked if he would recommend releasing photos, Powell said, "I'll leave that up to the administration to decide. I don't need to see it. He's dead."
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Posted by Steve Douglass at 6:41 AM