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US Congressman opposes release of Osama's photo

News18

Updated: May 4, 2011, 10:04 PM IST
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US Congressman opposes release of Osama's photo
Earlier CIA Director Leon Panetta said that the picture would be released.

Washington: A top US lawmakers on Wednesday opposed the release of the pictures of Osama bin Laden, who was killed by the US in a special operation in Pakistan, as the White House mulled over risks with making the "gruesome photograph" of last moments of the Al Qaeda leader public.

"I don't want to make the job of our troops serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan any harder than it already is. The risks of release outweigh the benefits," said Mike Rogers, chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Earlier CIA Director Leon Panetta said that the picture would be released, but the final decision in this regard would be taken by the White House.

"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," Panetta said in an interview with Nightly News.

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".

"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 and let s now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaeda has been eliminated," Rogers said in a statement.

The Obama Administration is looking into various options of releasing the pictures of bin Laden, the White House said, adding that these pictures are gruesome and might inflame enemies passions.

"It s fair to say that it s a gruesome photograph, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference when asked why the administration was reluctant to release the pictures of the last moments of bin Laden.

He said there are sensitivities here in terms of the appropriateness of releasing photographs of bin Laden in the aftermath of this firefight, and "we re making an evaluation about the need to do that because of the sensitivities involved".

He said the administration reviews this information and make this decision with the same calculation "as we do so many things, which is what we re trying to accomplish and does it serve or in any way harm our interests."

"It is certainly possible and this is an issue that we are taking into consideration, is that it could be inflammatory," Carney said, but refused to entertain question as to who all have seen these pictures so far and where they are.

"We will continue to review that and make decisions about the appropriateness of releasing more information as that review continues on," he said.

First Published: May 4, 2011, 10:04 PM IST
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