The world will not see the Osama bin Laden death photos any time soon.
CBS News is reporting that in a “60 Minutes” interview set to air Sunday, the president will say that he will not release the reportedly gruesome photos of bin Laden’s death.
Excerpts of the interview will air on Wednesday night’s “CBS Evening News.”
“It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool,” the president told Steve Kroft.
The risks of release outweigh the benefits,” the president told Steve Kroft in the interview. “Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East.”
“Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaida killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet,” he continued. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy — he is dead and let’s now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaida has been eliminated.”
“We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies,” he reiterated. “The fact of the matter is, this is somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received.”
The president also turned to a sports analogy to explain his decision: “we don’t need to spike the football.”
According the president, the “graphic nature of the photo” would “create a national security risk.”
“We discussed this internally,” he said. “Keep in mind, we are absolutely certain that this was him. We’ve done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden.”
“There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead,” he reiterated. “Certainly there is no doubt among al Qaeda members that he is dead. So we don’t think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference.”
“There are going to be some folks who deny it,” he added. “The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again.”
Fox News White House correspondent Mike Emanuel explored the decision when it was announced:
Yesterday it was widely speculated that at least one photo would be released in order to prove the terrorist’s death and bring closure. In fact, even CIA director Leon Panetta said yesterday that he thought a photo would be released.
“I mean, I think it will be,” Panetta said. However, he added that “the White House makes that final decision.”
It seems now it has.
This is a breaking story. Updates will be added.