Thursday, May 5, 2011

US President Barack Obama rules out releasing grisly Osama bin Laden photos

By punemsexesena ;WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama said he has decided not to release death photos of terrorist Osama bin Laden because their graphic nature could incite violence and create national security risks for the United States. Separately, officials told The Associated Press that the Navy SEALs who stormed bin Laden's compound shot him dead after they saw him appear to lunge for a weapon.

Obama, in an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, said bin Laden's death had been well established and people who did not believe it would not be convinced by gruesome photos, either.

"It would be of no benefit to gloat, he said.

"There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is you won't see bin Laden walking on this earth again," said Obama.

On the SEALs' deadly encounter with bin Laden, the officials, who had been briefed on the operation, said several weapons were found in the room where the terror chief died, including AK-47 assault rifles and side arms. The officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, commented only on condition of anonymity.

The new word about the reason bin Laden was shot and killed rather than taken into custody came after changing White House accounts that raised questions about the rationale: first that bin Laden was armed, then that he was not.

The officials who gave the latest details on Thursday also said that a U.S. commando grabbed a woman who charged toward the SEALs. The raiders were concerned, the officials said, that she might be wearing a suicide vest.

Administration officials have said bin Laden's body was identified by several means, including a DNA test. Members of Congress who received a briefing during the day said a sample from the body killed at the compound in Pakistan was compared to known DNA from bin Laden's mother and three sons.

Photos taken by the SEAL raiders show bin Laden shot in the head, numerous officials have said. CIA Director Leon Panetta said Tuesday he expected at least one photo to be released. Asked about that, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the decision had not been made then.

But Carney also said the president never doubted his position on not releasing the photos. Obama said in the interview, "It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence."

"I think that, given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk," he said. The president made his comments in an interview Wednesday with CBS' "60 Minutes"; Carney read the president's quotes to reporters in the White House briefing room, ahead of the program's airing.

Carney said there would not be images released of bin Laden's burial at sea, either.

Some family members of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks thought it important to document bin Laden's death, as did some Arab skeptics who doubted his demise in the absence of convincing evidence. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, said in a statement that Obama's decision was a mistake.
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