Osama bin Laden's death photos will be viewed by select members of Congress
A government official told CNN on Tuesday that members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the equivalent committees in the House, will be granted the opportunity to view the photos taken of Bin Laden soon after he was shot and killed by the SEALs.
In an interview that aired Sunday, Obama explained on CBS why he didn't want to release the gory photos of the fallen terrorist leader.
"We don't trot out this stuff as trophies," the president told CBS' Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes." "The fact of the matter is, this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received. And I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don't need to spike the football," Obama said.
Still, there has been a clamor by some to see the photographs: Some do want the football spiked, and others simply want closure. Bin Laden's son, Omar, was one of those who wanted proof that his father was dead, and Monday he requested to see either photos or video of his dead father. In the meantime, he said he and his family will go on believing that his father wasn't shot, killed and buried at sea.
The White House's slight reversal seems to take the advice of Times reader Bernard Rapkin, who recently wrote to the newspaper with his idea of what should be done about the controversial images.
"No matter what President Obama does about the pictures of Osama bin Laden's body, there will always be some skeptics who will insist it never happened. I'm sure there are plenty of Obama haters who will take the other side of whatever he does," Rapkin wrote.
"So why not take a middle-of-the-road approach? Invite several of the more level-headed leaders of both political parties (not the crazies like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump) to view the pictures and verify to the public that they are authentic," he continued.
"This, of course, won't solve the problem completely, but it should satisfy most of the doubters," Rapkin concluded.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who would be eligible to view the photos, would pass at the chance, calling it "morbid."
"I don’t want to see it," Reid said during a news conference last week.
The date of the viewing, which will be held at the CIA headquarters, has yet to be determined, CNN reported.
-- Tony Pierce
Photo: Reacting to the death of Osama bin Laden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, right, accompanied by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), talks to reporters on Capitol Hill about the operation that took down the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press