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Senators mixed on viewing bin Laden photos

From NBC’s Libby Leist and Carrie Dann
The White House decided last week not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse, but a small group of U.S. lawmakers have the option to view the images at CIA headquarters.

The CIA has invited members of the House and Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees to come to its headquarters in Langley, Va., to view photos taken after the al Qaeda leader was shot in the head and in the chest by U.S. forces in Abbottabad.

So who is going to take them up on the offer?

“I've seen enough dead people in my life,” said Armed Services Committee ranking member and Vietnam POW Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., agreed. "I spent a lot of time as a prosecutor and I've seen all the pictures of dead bodies that anybody should ever have to look at in their lifetime,” she said.

“The only reason the picture was taken was to confirm that it was he that was killed,” the Missouri Democrat added. “I think that's obvious right now. And I have absolutely no morbid curiosity about it.”  

Intelligence Committee member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Armed Services member Susan Collins, R-Maine, also said they won’t view the images.

But other lawmakers with access to the photos are arranging to lay eyes on the conclusive visual evidence of bin Laden’s demise.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she plans to view the photos, although she has not yet finalized what day she plans to make the trip to Langley.

Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. – both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- also said they plan to view the pictures.

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who has previously criticized the administration’s decision not to release the photos, said he is undecided but reiterated his belief Wednesday that the White House should have made them public to give “closure” to the American people.