We won’t trot out Osama photos as trophies: Obama (Lead)

May 5th, 2011 - 3:28 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, May 5 (IANS) US President Barack Obama has decided not to release photos of killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s body saying, “We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies”.

Announcing Obama’s decision “not to release any of the photographs of deceased Osama bin Laden”, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney read a quote from Obama to CBS “60 Minutes” to be telecast Sunday.

“When they landed, we had very strong confirmation that it was him. Photographs had been taken. Facial analysis had indicated that in fact it was him. We hadn’t yet done DNA testing, but at that point we were 95 percent sure.”

Obama saw the pictures? “Yes.”

Reaction? “It was him.”

Why not release them? “We discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We’ve done DNA sampling and testing. So there was no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden.”

“It is very important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of someone shot in the head are not floating around … as a propaganda tool. That’s not who we are,” Obama said.

“We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies. … I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don’t need to spike the football. … would create some national security risk.”

Carney said in reaching the decision about not releasing the photos, Obama talked about it with Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“He held his opinion very firmly,” Carney said.

Asked about CIA Director Leon Panetta’s claim that a photo would be released, Carney said there’s a “compelling argument” for releasing information. He says Obama was “engaged” in the discussion.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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