President Obama said Wednesday that he will not share pictures of Osama bin Laden’s dead body, citing concerns about inciting extremist violence against Americans. In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Obama said he is certain the al-Qaida leader is dead and that graphic images would only stir up anti-American sentiment among bin Laden sympathizers. Obama was quoted by White House press secretary Jay Carney as saying, “We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” and “We don’t need to spike the football.” —KDG
Officials said the photos show a bearded bin Laden, 54, after being shot above the left eye and in the chest during a 40-minute raid by elite Navy SEALs Sunday. The two shots killed the al Qaeda leader and terrorism mastermind who ordered the attacks on the twin towers.
The Obama administration had debated releasing the gruesome photo, which reveals exposed brains and blood. Sources told ABC News that the president was increasingly skeptical about the need to show photographic proof of bin Laden’s death.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advised the president that releasing a picture could prompt a backlash against the United States for killing bin Laden.