President Barack Obama has decided not to release the gruesome photos of a dead Osama bin Laden, he tells Steve Kroft in a "60 Minutes" interview conducted at the White House on Wednesday (May 4).
The interview with the president, his first since bin Laden was killed in a covert U.S. military raid on his Pakistan compound, will be broadcast on "60 Minutes" this Sunday, May 8, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Below is an excerpt from the interview:
STEVE KROFT: Did you see the pictures?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yes.
KROFT: What was your reaction when you saw them?
OBAMA: It was him.
KROFT: Why haven't you released them?
OBAMA: You know, we discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden. It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence. As a propaganda tool. You know, that's not who we are. You know, we don't trot out this stuff as trophies. You know, the fact of the matter is this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received. And I think-- Americans and people around the world are glad that he's gone. But we don't need to spike the football. And I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk. And I've discussed this with Bob Gates and Hillary Clinton and my intelligence teams and they all agree.
KROFT: There are people in Pakistan, for example, who say, "Look, this is all a lie. Obama, this is another American trick. Osama's not dead."
OBAMA: You know, the truth is that and we -- we're monitoring worldwide reaction. There's no doubt that Bin Laden is dead. Certainly there's no doubt among al Qaeda members that he is dead. And so we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. There are going be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this Earth again.
In Sunday's interview, the president will reveal for the first time his thoughts as he watched and listened from the Situation Room of the White House as the commando-style raid unfolded.