Rep. Peter King says he’ll view the CIA’s photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse out of “curiosity” and because he thinks he’ll feel better from seeing the al-Qaida leader dead.
In an interview with POLITICO on Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee chairman said that “after having lost so many friends and neighbors and constituents on September 11” — the New York Republican represents parts of Long Island immediately outside New York City — “to actually see the person with my own eyes who did it, see him dead … gives me some satisfaction.”
King plans to visit CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in the next few days to take up the agency’s offer to show the images to members of the House and Senate committees that deal with intelligence and national security. Sens. Harry Reid and Joe Lieberman have said they plan to see the photos, while their Republican colleague John McCain said he was not interested in seeing them, quipping: “I’ve seen enough dead people.”
King had called for President Barack Obama to release the photos of bin Laden’s corpse publicly, and he still thinks the president made the wrong call. “I’m not president, I’m not going to be president, so I disagree with the president but it’s not a strong matter of disagreement,” he said.
More than just sating his own curiosity, King said he thinks that seeing the photos will give him some credibility in talking about bin Laden’s killing. “I’ll be able to say, ‘yes, bin Laden was killed, I saw it’ and I think it will give some – again just in public appearances and talking to people if the debate does arise in the next year or so is he really dead.”
King also speculated that the photos might leak out even though the White House is keeping them under wraps. “I have no reason to think it will – I have no inside information – but just seeing how so much has leaked out over the recent years, I would say we almost have to assume it,” he said. “I think every government official, whatever they do has to assume that whatever they’re doing, whatever they say is somehow going to leak out.”
The full interview with Rep. King will run as part of a POLITICO video series the week of May 23rd.