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Graham calls Obama decision on photos 'a mistake'

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s decision not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse is a “mistake” that  could “unnecessarily prolong” the debate over what the United States should have done in the wake of the al Qaeda leader’s death.

“I respectfully disagree with President Obama's decision not to release the photos,” Graham said in a written statement. It's a mistake.”

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a leading Republican voice on national security issues, does not dispute that bin Laden has been killed but argues that definitive public proof would underscore his demise and protect the nation’s interests.

"The whole purpose of sending our soldiers into the compound, rather than an aerial bombardment, was to obtain indisputable proof of bin Laden's death,” he said. “I know bin Laden is dead.  But the best way to protect and defend our interests overseas is to prove that fact to the rest of the world.”

Earlier this week, Graham raised concerns about the speed with which bin Laden’s body was buried at sea – a move that administration officials said was in accordance with Islamic law.

“This idea of disposing the body within 24 hours because of tradition bothers me a bit because we will be under attack as to whether or not it really was him,” Graham said on Fox News Radio.  “And I’m not so sure that was a wise move.”