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White House Mulls Releasing Bin Laden Photos

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White House Mulls Releasing Bin Laden Photos

National Security

White House Mulls Releasing Bin Laden Photos

White House Mulls Releasing Bin Laden Photos

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CIA Director Leon Panetta says the Obama administration should release graphic images of Osama bin Laden's corpse. The White House says no decision has been made yet. The White House also revised details about what happened during that 40 minute firefight at bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer in for Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

President Obama's administration faces a delicate question after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. It's whether to release photos of the body.

There are many sides to this debate. And in the last day or so we've heard more than one view from inside the Obama administration. CIA director Leon Panetta says the photos should be released. Others are less sure.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

ARI SHAPIRO: White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the photos of Osama bin Laden are gruesome.

Mr. JAY CARNEY (White House Press Secretary): There are sensitivities here in terms of the appropriateness of releasing photographs of Osama Bin Laden.

SHAPIRO: He said one key question was whether the images could be inflammatory. Then a few hours later, CIA director Leon Panetta told "NBC Nightly News" that the photographs will be released.

Mr. LEON PANETTA (Director, CIA): The bottom line is that we got bin Laden and I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him.

SHAPIRO: Even as this new information comes out, the White House is revising some details it released in the first hours after the raid. Carney yesterday told reporters at the White House that Osama bin Laden was not in fact armed during the assault, though the al-Qaida leader did put up resistance.

Carney also said bin Laden's wife was shot in the leg, not fatally, as White House officials initially said.

Mr. CARNEY: We provided a great deal of information with great haste, in order to inform you and through you, the American public. And obviously some of the information came in piece by piece and is being reviewed and updated and elaborated upon.

SHAPIRO: A process that will continue in the days ahead.

Ari Shapiro, NPR News, the White House.

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