The world will not get to see the photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse, but several senators have been invited to. And Sen. Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee who also sits on the Armed Services panel, will be one of the senators accepting that invitation.
“I’ve been so involved in all the post-9/11 activity here and Homeland Security related, I thought if they’d offer me this opportunity, I’m going to go out and look,” Lieberman told POLITICO.
When asked if seeing the photos would provide some closure, the Connecticut independent replied: “In a way.”
Members of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees were informed Tuesday that they could make an appointment to see the photos taken of the killed terrorist leader in a viewing room at the CIA, sources said.
While riding the underground Senate subway, Lieberman passed word of the intelligence agency’s invitation to fellow Armed Services Committee member, Jack Reed (D-R.I.). But Reed said he had no desire to see them.
“I am convinced that he is deceased, and I don’t need any further proof,” Reed told POLITICO. “I am perfectly prepared to take the word of the Navy SEALS and all the scientific evidence that exists.”
President Barack Obama last week said he would not make the images available to the public, warning that America shouldn’t “spike the football” and the release of the photos could incite retaliation from bin Laden loyalists, ending a short-lived debate about whether to release the photos. Several senators had advocated doing so, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who called the president’s decision not to “a mistake.”
Three senators — Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) — said last week they had seen electronic images of a deceased bin Laden before acknowledging they had likely been shown fake photographs.
Not everyone will be taking the CIA up on the offer about the photos.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was against releasing the photos publicly, and the Vietnam War veteran and prisoner of war said he was not interested in going to Langley to see them privately himself.
“I’ve seen enough dead people,” McCain said.