WASHINGTON–Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, viewed pictures of Osama bin Laden at CIA Headquarters on Friday and said the photos of his shot-in-the face corpse while gruesome, left no doubt about his identify.
President Obama has declined to make public pictures of bin Laden taken after U.S. special forces killed him in his Abbottabad compound in Pakistan on May 1, because they could be used for propaganda purposes and because, Obama said, he did not want to “spike the football.”
However, members of Congress on Intelligence and Armed Services panels are being allowed to view pictures at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., a Washington suburb.
“It was very easy to see who he is,” she told me.
Schakowsky said she viewed about 15 photos–some repeats–put in a binder. The photos–including close-ups of bin Laden’s face– reminded her of a crime scene and were, she said, “pretty grisly, pictures of a person shot in the head.” Most of the photos were in color.
She said she had “no doubt” the body was bin Laden. In order to aid identification, the binders included side-by-side photos of bin Laden alive and dead–with arrows and lines—showing measurements of and between key facial features.
Schakowsky, who had not advocated for the release of the photos, said the viewing confirmed for her Obama was right in not wanting them released. Release of the pictures, she said, could result in posters “paraded around and on various web sites” and put “Americans and others” in “greater danger.”