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It's official: Obama won't release Osama pictures

Last updated on: May 05, 2011 01:17 IST

Pictures of Osama bin Laden's dead body will not be released, United States President Barack Obama said on Wednesday, according to CBS news. Obama said in an interview that he would not release the post-mortem images of bin Laden taken to prove his death, the news outlet said in a statement.

The interview would be telecast on Sunday. Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta had said  on Tuesday that the pictures were "gruesome" and a final decision on whether to release them 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.

However several lawmakers spoke against the release of the pictures. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said releasing the pictures may make the job of US troops serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan harder.

"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," he said in a statement.

"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. 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," Rogers said.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had said the pictures might inflame passions. "It's fair to say that it's a gruesome photograph," Carney had said when asked why the Administration was reluctant to release the pictures.

He said the matter involved "sensitivities" and the administration was making an evaluation.
Lalit K Jha in Washington
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