The president has decided not to release photographs of Osama bin Laden's body, according to a senior White House official.
*** UPDATE *** Here is what President Obama told Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes" about his decision. The interview will air on Sunday.
"The risks of release outweigh the benefits," he said. "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," he continued. "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."
*** CORRECTION *** Those quotes above are from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, not President Obama. (It's unclear why CBS decided not to release quotes from the president in its story about the news.)
Here is what Obama told "60 Minutes," per White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: "We've done DNA sampling and testing. There is no doubt we killed Osama bin Laden." Obama went on to say that releasing the photos could incite violence and run contray to America's values. "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies... We don't need to spike the football."
*** UPDATE 2 *** NBC's Athena Jones reports:
At the top of the briefing this afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney shared the exchange President Obama had with 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft in his interview today during which he explained his rationale for not releasing photos of bin Laden's body.
Obama said he had seen the photos and they proved, along with facial analysis and DNA evidence, that the US team had killed bin Laden.
KEY OBAMA QUOTE TO KROFT:
"It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies. The fact of the matter is this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received and I think Americans and people around the world are glad he is gone, but we don't need to spike the football. And I think that given the graphic natures of these photos, it would create some national security risk and I've discussed this with Bob Gates and Hillary Clinton and my intelligence teams and they all agree."
In the interview scheduled to air on Sunday, the president said officials were monitoring worldwide reaction to news of the mission and that there was no doubt bin Laden was dead.
Obama told Kroft:
"Certainly there is doubt- no doubt among Al Qaeda members that he is dead. And so we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden waling on this earth again."