The country’s former intelligence director said Thursday he supports President Obama’s decision not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s dead body, noting he feels no need to “chest-bump over corpses.”
“I just don’t think putting out gory pictures can help anybody,” retired Adm. Dennis Blair, who served as Obama’s director of national intelligence before he resigned last year, told The Hill in an interview.
Blair said the photos could put U.S. military personnel overseas in harm’s way, noting that news outlets all across the world would likely publish the pictures if they were made public.
The public can praise the operation that took down bin Laden without seeing the photos, Blair said.
“I don’t like to chest-bump over corpses,” he said. “I think I’m for a closed casket on this one.”
Blair, who resigned after a 16-moth term amid tensions with the White House, is in agreement with administration over the photos. The White House announced Thursday the pictures of bin Laden's body would not be released. Some members of Congress, as well as families of terror attack victims, have said that they want the photos to prove bin Laden's death.
The cache of information that was taken from the al Qaeda leader’s compound in Pakistan could prove very valuable in future anti-terrorism operations, Blair said, noting that the discovery will make waves in among al Qaeda's followers.
“Everybody will be changing their name and changing their location for a while, and that’s a good thing,” he said.
Blair also said bin Laden’s death could mark the descent of al Qaeda’s stranglehold over the Muslim world.
“It’s pretty clear that al Qaeda’s image has been going down. They’ve been killing Muslims more than they’ve been killing anybody else,” Blair said.
“So I think if we’re lucky we’ve passed the high-water mark of that organization. There will be other organizations and they will still provide an ideological inspiration for some people who have beefs with the United States and with others. But we might be able to turn a corner, and that’s a good thing.”