Two key Republicans on foreign policy -- Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) -- say the United States should not release the postmortem photos of Osama bin Laden.
"I don't want to make the job of our troops serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan any harder than it already is," Rogers said, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports. "The risks of release outweigh the benefits. 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. Imagine how the American people would react if al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders and put photos of the body on the Internet.
"Osama bin Laden is not a trophy; he is dead, and let's now focus on continuing the fight until al Qaeda has been eliminated."
After an intelligence briefing on Capitol Hill, McCain said it was a "judgment" the president has to make, but that he believes it's "not necessary to do," NBC's Joel Seidman reports. McCain said he had himself not seen any of the photos.
McCain added it was his understanding that the information on the bin Laden "courier" did not come from so-called "enhanced interrogation."
*** UPDATE *** Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who said he has seen the photos, also says the administration should not release the pictures.
“Let me assure you that he is dead, that bin Laden is dead — I have seen the photos,” Brown said in an interview with NECN, according to the Boston Globe. He added, “If it’s to sell newspapers or just have a news cycle story, no, I don’t think they should be released. We’re still dealing with the sensitivities of the Muslim and Arab world. And we still have men and women serving throughout the world.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** Here's video from NBC partner NECN.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Uh oh. Bad headline for Scott Brown here from the Boston Globe: "Brown admits he was fooled by fake picture."