GOP Intelligence chief on photo debate: 'Bin Laden is not a trophy'

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence panel opposes releasing photos of Osama bin Laden's body.

In a statement, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said 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."

ADVERTISEMENT
Rogers added that it was important to focus on the ongoing fight against al Qaeda, rather than bin Laden's death.

"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," Rogers continued.

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), who sits on the Intelligence Committee and heads the Homeland Security panel, believes the photos should be released.

Asked for his position after a classified briefing Tuesday with CIA chief Leon Panetta, King responded, "Yeah...there's no doubt that they got him so let's not have conspiracy theories develop."

King said he had not seen the photos but added that he had heard "they aren't ghoulish, they're not going to scare people off, they're not offensive."

On Wednesday, King stood by his position though said he "understands [the administration's decision] not to" make the photos public.

It is unclear if King will see the photo, but he noted the Intelligence Committee is regularly receiving updates on the bin Laden matter.

Before Obama made his decision to not release the photos, his administration appeared to be divided.

On Tuesday, Panetta said that it was important to show the world that bin Laden had in fact been killed. But ABC News reported Wednesday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates both oppose releasing the photos.

On Wednesday Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said that she was concerned releasing photos of Osama bin Laden's body might endanger American troops.

"Well, I only know what I've read and heard this morning as well but I share the concern that we have to make sure that the safety of the troops are paramount," Gillibrand said on Fox News.

This article was last updated at 2:42 p.m.

More in In the News

GOP debate: Children's edition

Read more »