Indiana senator: Withhold bin Laden photos

May 16, 2011

(Photo by Getty Images)
U.S. Sen. Dan Coats (R-Indiana)

Indiana U.S. Senator Dan Coats said he had no doubts the United States killed Bin Laden, but he still felt obligated to look at photos depicting his death.

The CIA invited Coats and others members of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence to view the photos, which Coats viewed at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, early Monday.

The photos show Bin Laden’s body after he was killed by American troops in a raid on his hideaway in Pakistan last month.

“The photos reinforce evidence I received in intelligence briefings regarding the death of bin Laden,” Coats said in a written statement. “The photos were graphic, but you definitely could tell it was bin Laden.”

Coats said President Obama made the correct decision withholding release of the photos because they could provoke sharp reactions in the Muslim world.

“The defeat of al-Qaeda’s leader sends a clear message to terrorists: no matter how long it takes, the United States will not back down until justice is served to those who attack us,” Coats said. “Bin Laden’s death is a significant step in dismantling al-Qaeda, but the threat of terrorism is still alive. We must remain vigilant and continue our efforts to defeat terrorism.”