Obama on bin Laden photo decision: ‘We don’t need to spike the football’

Romenesko Misc.
“60 Minutes” has released a partial transcript of its interview with President Obama, which airs on Sunday. “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,” he says. “As a propaganda tool. You know, that’s not who we are. You know, we don’t trot out this stuff as trophies.” || Read New York Times’ story on the decision.


May 4, 2011

MEDIA ALERT

PRESIDENT OBAMA TELLS “60 MINUTES” HE WILL NOT RELEASE THE DEATH PHOTOS OF OSAMA BIN LADEN IN AN INTERVIEW TO BE BROADCAST SUNDAY ON CBS

An Excerpt from the Interview in which the President Gives his Reasons Will be Broadcast Tonight (4) on THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC

President 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 earlier today (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 Sunday, May 8 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

An excerpt from the interview in which President Obama explains his reasoning for holding back the photos will appear on THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC tonight (4) (6:30-7:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. A transcript of that exchange follows: CREDIT 60 MINUTES

STEVE KROFT:

Did you see the pictures?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yes.

STEVE KROFT: What was your reaction when you saw them?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It was him.

STEVE KROFT: Why haven’t you released them?

PRESIDENT BARACK 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– 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– but we don’t need to spike the football. And– I think that given the– 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.

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.

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> Fake photos of a dead Osama bin Laden circulate on the Internet

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