The top members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said Monday that the Obama administration should release photos of the body of Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader who was killed Sunday by U.S. forces in Pakistan nearly 10 years after he ordered the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks.
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), said Monday at a Capitol news conference that it “may be necessary” to release the photos in order to assuage doubts that the man who was killed and buried in the northern Arabian Sea on Sunday was in fact bin Laden.
“My own instinct is it’s probably necessary to release those pictures, but, you know, I will respect whatever decision the president makes,” Lieberman said, noting that unless al Qaeda acknowledges bin Laden’s death, some may not be convinced by reports that he was shot in the head by U.S. forces Sunday. “I will tell you this: For my own part, based on information that I’ve received, I am absolutely convinced that the man who was killed yesterday was Osama bin Laden.”
Collins said that she, too, had “absolutely no doubt” that bin Laden had been killed, calling the DNA tests conducted Monday morning “pretty conclusive.”
“But I recognize that there will be those who will try to generate this myth that he’s alive and that we missed him somehow,” she added. “And in order to put that to rest, it may be necessary to release some of the pictures or video or the DNA test to prevent that from happening.”
The White House has said it has not made a decision on releasing the photos. And not all lawmakers were on board with the idea Monday. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) declined to say whether he thought the administration should release the photos, telling reporters at a news conference Monday afternoon that “it’s something that we’re gonna have to work through.”
“We want to make sure that we maintain dignity, if there was any, in Osama bin Laden, so that we don’t inflame problems other places in the world, and still provide enough evidence that people are confident that it was Osama bin Laden,” Rogers said.