In a 60 Minutes interview filmed today and set to air on Sunday, President Obama tells Steve Kroft that he’s decided not to release any images of a dead Osama bin Laden, according to CBS News.
“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.”
The photo in which bin Laden was most identifiable was also the most gruesome — reportedly, some brain is visible in his head wound. By not releasing it, seems to have overruled CIA chief Leon Panetta, who just yesterday told NBC News, “The bottom line is that, you know, we got bin Laden, and I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him.”
The ball is in your court, allegedly alive Osama.
Update: Republicans are split on the decision to withhold the photos. Senator Susan Collins and Congressman Peter King want them released; Speaker of the House John Boehner, House intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, Senator Jim Risch don’t see the need. Sarah Palin says exactly what you’d expect her to say.