Key Senators want bin Laden photos released, but disagree on when
May 4th, 2011
12:22 PM ET
3 years ago

Key Senators want bin Laden photos released, but disagree on when

Washington (CNN) – Two top senators involved in national security said Wednesday the photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse should be released, but they disagreed on when.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, who chairs the Armed Services Committee - and who has not seen the photos - said the U.S. should wait to allow the emotions of those around the world who may be sympathetic to bin Laden to cool.

"I'd let a little time pass so we that we don't play into the hands of people who want to retaliate with what obviously will be a sensational picture. I would not want to feed that sensation so I'd wait days or weeks," he said.

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the top Republicans on the intelligence committee, - who said he has seen the photos - said they should go out right away.

"I think the question is 'what's the negative that could come from it?'" Chambliss said. "One of these days they're going to be released it's a question of whether it be now on our terms or (let) somebody else do it."

Chambliss described the photos, as "what you would expect from somebody's who's been shot in the head. It's not pretty."

The two men answered questions from reporters as they entered a classified briefing in the Capitol on the bin Laden raid with CIA Director Leon Panetta.


Filed under: Carl Levin • Osama bin Laden • Saxby Chambliss
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. ConservaFASCISTS -aka- Mammon

    The sooner the photos are released, the quicker we can put this story to rest and move on with our lives. I personally see the pros and cons of releasing them. But if you can release Uday's, Qusay's, Saddam' s and Zarkawi's, you can release OBL's.

    May 4, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Seeing a person shot in the head isn't something a lot of people can stomach, I've seen it up close and he was my brother. There should be a lot of warning and caution to people if and when these photos are released.

    May 4, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Obama will do what he thinks is right. Levin and Chambliss can blow political mouthfarts at him all they want, but it won't change anything...other than potentially influencing a small portion of public opinion once the two "sides" get wind of a Dem and a GOPer taking opposite positions and then latch onto them and start building their rationalized realities around why one position or the other is the only right one.

    May 4, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. AK

    Do not release. What do we stand to benefit. No one doubts he is dead! Good Riddance.
    Now lets go get Alzuahiri or what ever his name is... the #2 guy.

    May 4, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. PalmReader

    "Chambliss described the photos, as "what you would expect from somebody's who's been shot in the head. It's not pretty."

    I, for one, have no interest in viewing photos of dead people, no matter who they were. However, I do understand that the vultures among us will need their gory fix. My only concern is that these photos aren't released mainstream, but instead are made available only to those wishing to view the death by forcing the gory seekers themselves to actually click on the photos through Internet access.

    May 4, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. julie

    I don't need to see the photos – as far as I am concerned there is no doubt he was killed. The horrific photo cannot compare to watching all of those people leap out of the windows of the World Trade Centers.

    May 4, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    - said the U.S. should wait to allow the emotions of those around the world who may be sympathetic to bin Laden to cool
    -------------------------------------------------–
    This is a good point, and I agree. However,ultimately, it will be President Obama's call. We're certain that he will take input into accountl
    This is a VERY delicate, and potentially volatile situation.
    The man is dead, a source of 'joy' for us wrapped up in rghteous vindication; yet an opportunity for heavy and effective recruting from those that served and revered him.
    This is another instance where I am thankful for Obama's good sense and deliberateness.

    May 4, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Realistic

    Who cares what these Senators want? I don't..So when the president decides to release the photos its when its going to be done. These two senators whould go back to dealing with our debt problems.

    May 4, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Sergio D. Monterroso

    Not surprised that Republicans would want to see the gory details, that is what the Bush administration used to do.

    May 4, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Sergio D. Monterroso

    What surprises me, is that a Democrat would have that in mind also, oh well, I guess this goes to prove there is bad everywhere.

    May 4, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. rhumba

    I'll never understand why much of the American public believes it is their right to be privy to such sensitive information. Most of us are not military, are not leaders, are not experts. We have elected people to take care of the tough issues that face America. Let them do their jobs to keep us safe. No good can come from plastering a dead man's photo across the front pages of every newspaper and magazine. It will only make the world a more dangerous place.

    May 4, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    The photos should not be released. There is no reason to do so that is in the best interests of national security. If I were advising Obama, I would strongly advise against releasing any images of a corpse. I would advise that he write an executive order to that effect, so that if another Assange wants to publish them anyway you have something to charge them with.

    I would be willing to change my opinion if someone, anyone, can convince of any concrete benefit to be gained from any such release of those images. Both Saxby and Levin convinced me of the knee jerk decision making process of the Congress, and why neither one of them is presidential material. The only reason I hear is a desire for revenge for the videos of people being executed by terrorists. They want to display some spilled blood of their own now. Is this what we call a civilized world?

    May 4, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Release the photos and be done with this. Delaying the release only creates a greater media storm. Pinetta has already stated they would relesae them. Ridiculous. Or are they trying to keep this media circus going for months on end?

    May 4, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Cheryl

    First of all, we don’t need to prove bin Laden’s death to anyone. His death has already been proven.
    Further, the proof will serve itself over time; he will never be seen again. Most importantly, he will never kill another person or plot another attack. If people do not trust or believe what has been said and shown already, that is their issue. Involved in the first stage of grief with death is DENIAL.

    I worked for a film developing company over 30 yrs ago that handled police profiles of close ballistic head shots. I have seen people’s heads blown apart. Those images never leave your mind. People are extremely curious, but they do not realize how powerful photos can be. We may forget what we hear, but we do not forget what we see.

    He’s gone, put it to rest.

    May 4, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. FM

    It is better they release the photos. They are few birthers, truthers, but deathers will be millions and millions!

    May 4, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. Greg in Arkansas

    NO, releasing pictures of Osama bin Laden's body MAY appease Americans but most likely would only serve as a recruitment poster for more followers.
    Instead, show the photos of bin Laden using a woman as a shield so the world what this COWARD was really made of.
    Throw in a few pictures of his mansion and lavish lifestyle to highlight his hypocrisy of asking prospective recruits to sacrifice and die for "his" cause against Americans while he enjoyed the pampered western way of life.
    And remember, nothing takes the wind out of a movement like finding out the leader was a fake.

    May 4, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. T

    Don't release them, there is no benefit to it, to prove that it is him........we believe. Let it go and move on.................

    May 4, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. A True Centrist

    I think some of the biggest news is that the waterboarding of a prisoner in Guatanamo apparantly led to the key intel...why is cnn not highlighting this? Pinetta was questioned about the results of the waterboarding in great length yesterday but there is little to no information on the press conference on cnn.

    I know cnn is very partial, but come on...I personally am completely against the practice but it still should be reported. It also begs the question of how much credit does the President deserve when he campaigned on closing Guantanamo and ending any questionable interogation techniques, both of which turned out to be key in locating and killing Osama.

    May 4, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Oh, I'm sure some well-intentioned idiot will get the photos posted on Wikileaks in a few more days. Then we can have more outrage against them and Assange.
    If it were up to me, I would put the photos in a file that only a handful of people will have the clearance to look at. I can almost guarantee that both Sarah Palin and Donald Trump would NOT be on that list!

    May 4, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    I guess the longer we are distracted by this maybe the Obama administration is hoping we don't notice $5/gallon gasoline, our food bill doubling, the lack of jobs, the massive debt, etc.

    May 4, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. BeverlyNC

    Since when does the CIA or the military have an obligation to show photos or release confidential data to the American public?? It still will never satisfy the racist ignorant Republican crowd and will only stir up Al Qaeda operatives with hatred towards us. This was a COVERT mission and we have been told all we have "a need to know". Grow up Republicans.

    May 4, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. vic , nashville ,tn

    Osama bin Laden is dead why we need prove

    Move on and handle Pakistan how many more there

    May 4, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    @The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE – The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends
    Release the photos and be done with this. Delaying the release only creates a greater media storm
    ----------------
    For what? Please, you or anybody, convince me. Release them for what reason. Surely not to convince yourself that Bin Laden is dead. My answer to that is go away and come back when Bin Laden releases a tape decrying the attack that killed him. Please, convince me.

    May 4, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Phil in KC

    Why do we need to see that? What does it accomplish? The only impact I can see would be negative. It would serve to inflame the opposition and provide another recruiting tool. It is gruesome and would further desensitise our population – especially our youth. It would make it seem that we are making a spectacle of taking down this thug – like a circus side-show. We don't need or want that.

    May 4, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Rev Mkell,

    I'm sure that a very small portion of Muslim population would find them offensive enough to be sure to kill a few Americans! But then the new's talking heads would have a great story to praddle on about! So there all for releasing the photos!

    May 4, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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