(WASHINGTON) -- ABC News has learned that the Obama administration possesses a number of photographs of Osama bin Laden’s corpse, taken in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
Officials who have seen the photographs describe them as “gruesome.” Bin Laden has a gunshot wound to his forehead. The insides of his head are visible.
The pictures from Pakistan are of bin Laden in the compound, dead. There are also pictures of his dead son Khaled, the dead courier, and the dead courier’s brother.
The pictures of bin Laden in Afghanistan are from a U.S. military base. The ones from the aircraft carrier are of bin Laden on the deck before and after he was wrapped in a shroud, in keeping with Muslim burial traditions.
Representative Peter King, R-N.Y., said Tuesday afternoon he’s heard the bin Laden death photos aren’t that bad.
“They’re not ghoulish, they’re not going to scare people off, they’re not offensive,” King told reporters after the briefing. “Nothing more than you expect with a person with a bullet in his head.”
But, as Mr. King acknowledged, he has not seen the photos. King was speaking after Leon Panetta gave House members a classified briefing, but Panetta did not show the photos at the briefing.
But a source tells ABC News they have seen the photos and disagree with King’s characterization.
This source, who was shown about a half-dozen of the photos, says they look like photos from “a bad crime scene” -- bloody and “gruesome.”
Maybe it’s a question of how you define gruesome. The source says, “It’s what you’d expect from somebody shot in the head with a high-caliber bullet.” To this source -- that ‘s bad.
In fact, after viewing the photos, this source says it would be a mistake to release them -- especially so soon after the mission.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio