Bachmann views Bin Laden photos; Kline declines
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- May 12, 2011 - 12:26 PM
Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann traveled to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., Thursday to view the classified photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse.
"I am convinced that this was Bin Laden," she said afterwards. "We got our man."
As a member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, Bachmann was one of a few lawmakers selected to see the images from the May 1 raid on the Al-Qaida leader’s redoubt in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Minnesota Republican John Kline, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, also was invited but declined, saying he saw no need to make the trip to the Washington suburbs.
"I have absolute confidence in the people I trust – including our troops, intelligence officials, and the Navy Seals who carried out this operation," said Kline, a retired Marine. "I have absolute confidence that he is dead, and looking at the picture doesn’t make him any deader.”
So far, only members of Senate and House committees that deal with intelligence and military matters have been invited to see the photos, which intelligence officials have described as gruesome.
Bin Laden was reportedly shot in the head and chest in the operation.
Lawmakers are not being allowed to take away copies, in keeping with President Obama’s decision to withhold the photos from the public. Civil liberties advocates have criticized the decision, arguing that it amounts to censorship.
Administration officials and some security experts have said the release of the photos would needlessly incite violence in some parts of the world while doing nothing to convince doubters.
Bachmann said she would support a public release of the DNA match to the public.
“While these photos provide certainty of bin Laden’s identity," Bachmann said, "I also believe the best evidence of bin Laden’s identity is found through the release of the terrorist’s DNA match."
She also added in a statement: "Going forward, I urge our intelligence sectors and the United States military to remain vigilant against terror as they continue to fulfill the government’s Constitutional role to provide for the common defense of its citizens.”
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