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Some U.S. Lawmakers To View Bin Laden Body Photos

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OSAMA BIN LADEN

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Members of four congressional committees will be allowed to view photographs of Osama bin Laden’s body, the Central Intelligence Agency said Wednesday.

Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the House and Senate Armed Services Committees will be allowed to see the photographs at CIA headquarters in Virginia, agency spokesman Preston Golson said.

Golson said the spy agency was making the photographs available to the committee members at their discretion, adding it strongly valued congressional oversight.

“Because the Bin Laden raid was the product of excellent cooperation between the intelligence community and the US military, access to the photos is being granted to members of the House and Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees,” Golson said.

Heather Molino, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, said the Maryland Democrat was planning to view the photos either Wednesday or Thursday.

“He is interested and wants to see them,” Molino said.

But U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican, had no plans to view the photos.

Spokesman Joe Megyesy said Coffman, who served with the Marines in Iraq, believes bin Laden is dead and doesn’t see the need to look at what he expects to be gruesome images.

“I’m a Marine combat veteran. I don’t have any fascination with looking at photos of gunshot wounds to the face,” Coffman said in a statement.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado believes looking at the photos is part of his job on the Intelligence Committee and that having people from two branches of government look at them is “due diligence,” spokeswoman Tara Trujillo said.

Ruppersberger, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said last week that he agreed with the White House’s decision not to publicly release photos of bin Laden’s body.

Ruppersberger, who spoke at a retirement community last Friday about the U.S. military raid in Pakistan that resulted in bin Laden’s death, had said any public release of the photos could stoke anger among bin Laden supporters.

“Why enrage the rest of the world who don’t like us? And we don’t want them to rally behind his death to hurt us again,” Ruppersberger said last week.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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