Here's a better question: why wouldn't they?
While CIA director Leon Panetta is saying the photos will be released, a number of other Obama administration officials are saying they should be, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Why?
Meanwhile, sources say, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are advising the president about concerns at the Pentagon and State Department that releasing a photograph could prompt a backlash against the US for killing bin Laden where one does not seem to currently exist. ...
"The only skeptics are extremists and they wouldn't be convinced by a photograph anyway. So the president has to weigh the potential negatives and they're huge, there's a tremendous risk of the photo becoming a rallying cry for attacks against US soldiers, government personnel, and Americans in general."
Additionally, GOP chairman of the House Intelligence panel, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., also believes releasing the photos would endanger American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I don’t want to make the job of our troops serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan any harder than it already is. The risks of release outweigh the benefits," Rogers said in a statement. "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."
Would releasing the photos of bin Laden put our troops in any more danger than they already face? The people they are fighting already want to kill us -- perhaps it might help our troops to show the terrorists what their future holds.
And terrorist sensitivities aside, how many families and friends of those who died on 9/11 want to see the photos? If bin Laden were tried for his crimes and faced capital punishment, the families would be invited to watch his execution.
According to the latest news accounts, Obama is wavering. ABC News' Jake Tapper writes: "President Obama is increasingly doubtful that there's a compelling reason to release a photograph of Osama bin Laden's corpse."
Update: I should've known that 10 minutes after I posted this, Obama would come out with his final decision on the photographs -- a resounding "NO."