Lawmakers split on release of bin Laden photos
Lawmakers who have seen graphic photos of Osama bin Laden's body differ over whether the photos should be made public.
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers who have seen graphic photos of Osama bin Laden's body differ over whether the photos should be made public.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., saw some photos and came away convinced they must remain under lock and key.
"I was asked, personally, to keep them secret by folks in the intelligence field, who don't want those photos released," Nunes said Wednesday.
A member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he cited his secrecy oath in strictly limiting his description of the photos whose disclosure he fears would endanger U.S. forces.
"I'll just say this," Nunes said. "He's dead."
But a fellow conservative Republican who saw the photos at CIA headquarters, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, insisted at least some of the photos should be released. Inhofe said he spent about an hour examining more than a dozen photos, some showing gruesome wounds.
"Either a bullet, the significant bullet, went through the ear and out the eye, or vice versa," Inhofe told The Associated Press. "It wasn't a very pretty picture."
Inhofe was among the first in what is expected to be a caravan of lawmakers making the trek to CIA headquarters in Northern Virginia to view the photos.
Others have opted out.
"I don't want to see it," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, calling the photos "morbid."
President Obama, saying he does not want to "spike the football," declared the photos would not be released publicly.
The public at large would have a chance to see the photos if AP and other news organizations succeed in Freedom of Information Act requests filed to gain access. The CIA, though, is likely to cite national security or other concerns in rejecting the FOIA requests.
At least some of the photos show bin Laden's face, or what remained of it after he was shot twice by a Navy SEAL. Administration officials say one bullet hit bin Laden, 54, above the left eye and the other entered his chest.
The type of weapon, caliber of bullet, distance at which bin Laden was shot and full extent of structural damage done have not been formally divulged.
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