U.S. President Barack Obama has decided not to release death photos of Osama bin Laden that were taken after he was killed by U.S. commandos early Monday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday the president decided there is no purpose in releasing any of the photographs. He said the graphic images would create a national security risk and could incite violence.
The president announced the decision in an interview Wednesday with the U.S. television network CBS. Mr. Obama said he has no doubt that U.S. forces killed bin Laden. He said the man behind the September 11, 2001 attacks received the justice the deserved.
Carney said Wednesday the majority of Mr. Obama’s closest advisors decided to keep the photos classified. He said compelling arguments could be made for and against releasing a photo, but that no visual evidence of bin Laden’s death will be made public.
The spokesman reiterated U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement that the raid was lawful. He said the U.S. special forces would have taken the world’s most wanted terrorist into custody if he had surrendered.
Holder also said the killing of bin Laden was an act of national self-defense. He said the United States ultimately will be more safe because of it. However, he warned of possible retaliatory attacks, and said the fight against terrorist threats is far from over.
Holder said he has ordered law enforcement agencies to be on alert, and said there still are serious concerns that the United States must address.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder said bin Laden’s death is a “tremendous step forward” in obtaining justice for the thousands killed in the September 11 al-Qaida attacks against the United States. He called on Congress to reauthorize for a “substantial period of time” provisions in the Patriot Act that expire at the end of the month.
The provisions set to expire allow roving wiretaps on people with suspected terror ties, access to records, and tracking someone with no ties to a terrorist group, a so-called “lone wolf.” Holder said those provisions are needed now more than ever.
The chairman of the Senate committee, Democrat Patrick Leahy, welcomed the successful raid that killed bin Laden. He said bin Laden paid for his actions against innocent Americans and people around the world, calling him a terrorist and murderer who “perpetuated hate and destruction.”