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Thursday
May052011

Lawmakers Respond to Obama’s Decision to Hold Bin Laden Photos

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The reaction on Capitol Hill to President Obama’s decision not to release any photographic evidence of Osama bin Laden’s death has been met mostly with agreement, with top lawmakers in the House of Representatives from both parties deferring to the president’s discretion.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, personally opposed releasing the photos and called Obama’s verdict “a great decision.” 

“I came out early and said that I didn’t think that they should be released.  Imagine if we had one of our general officers who were killed by the Taliban or al Qaeda and they put them up on display and spread out the pictures like they were a trophy.  It would inflame the U.S. population, and rightly so,” Rogers, R-Michigan, said Wednesday afternoon.  “This is the right decision.  We have soldiers at risk in combat areas.  We want their job to be easier, not harder.  I think releasing the photos would have made it harder.  He’s dead.  The Taliban may or may not believe it.  We’ve got other actions that I’m sure they’ll believe coming to a town near them real soon.”

Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told reporters Tuesday that he believed the photos should be released to end any speculation from conspiracy theorists that Bin Laden was not really killed.  But on Wednesday, King said he will “certainly support the president’s decision.”

And Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, said on Wednesday that she “supports the president’s decision.”

However, not everyone agreed with the administration’s decision not to release the photos.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a former Air Force lawyer, said he believes President Obama’s decision not to release the images is “a mistake” that will “unnecessarily prolong this debate” over the death of the al Qaeda leader.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is considering mounting a challenge to President Obama in 2012, said that although she agrees with the decision not to release the photos, it is “important for the administration to release definitive proof that identifies Osama bin Laden.”

“The world and the American people need to know that we got our man.  I believe the best evidence would be a DNA match,” Bachmann, R-Minn., said.  “If the administration can release that information, without compromising intelligence, that would be the best proof, and would be better than a photo.  My concern with a photo is that it could incite violence and put U.S. troops in harm’s way.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio