King to see photos of slain bin LadenBy TOM BRUNE
May 12, 2011
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Wednesday he'll go to CIA headquarters first thing tomorrow morning to see the photos nearly everyone wants to see -- of the slain Osama bin Laden.
But Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said she'll take a pass.
The CIA Wednesday offered to show the photos to King and other members of the Intelligence committees in the House and Senate, as well as to Gillibrand and others on the two Armed Services committees.
King cited two main reasons for his decision.
"If the debate on whether he's dead ever comes up, I want to be able to say, 'I saw bin Laden dead. Firsthand evidence,' " King said.
He added, "Having lost so many neighbors and constituents to 9/11, and knowing so many of their family members, I'll get satisfaction. A very quiet satisfaction."
Gillibrand thinks the CIA's offer to members is "appropriate," her spokeswoman Bethany Lesser said, but added, "She doesn't need to see the photos to know what even al-Qaida has confirmed -- Osama bin Laden is dead."
President Barack Obama barred public release of what aides called "gruesome" photos to avoid inciting attacks on U.S. targets. But the CIA said showing the photos to selected lawmakers is different.
"Because the bin Laden raid was the product of excellent cooperation between the intelligence community and the U.S. military, access to the photos is being granted to members of the House and Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees," said CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf. "The CIA strongly values the importance of congressional oversight."
But pressure to release the photos will continue. Already House and Senate leaders are asking the CIA to allow all members of Congress to see them, King said. The invitations went out to 114 members.