After viewing 'gruesome' photos of Osama bin Laden, Chandler says they should go public

05/12/2011 09:17 AM

UPDATED WITH FULL INTERVIEW: Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler said the U.S. government should release to the public the Osama bin Laden photos that show a gunshot wound “that looks like an ax” went across the former al-Qaeda leader’s forehead.

Chandler, of Kentucky’s 6th District in central Kentucky, serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. And he was among the first members of Congress to be shown the photos at CIA headquarters in Langley.

“It’s pretty gruesome,” Chandler said of the gunshot wound, which stretched from his left eye diagonally across his forehead.

“It’s about an inch wide,” Chandler said. “It’s a massive gash that looks like an ax was taken to his head.

Bin Laden’s eyes are open in the pictures, he said.

Chandler said he had no doubt the photos were of bin Laden.

“There’s no question they got Osama bin Laden,” he said. “It’s clearly him in the pictures.”

President Barack Obama announced on May 1 that a team of U.S. Navy Seals killed bin Laden at a compound in Pakistan. But Obama decided not to release the photos taken of bin Laden before his body was dumped into the ocean.

Chandler said despite the gruesome nature of the photos, he said Americans are used to seeing that type of gore in the media and in movies. And he said releasing the photos could provide closure for those Americans who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Here’s Chandler’s reaction to seeing the photos, as well as his comments about how the United States should progress with its relations with Pakistan:

The United States sends roughly $20 billion in foreign aid to Pakistan.

“I think we need to revisit the issue” of how much is spent, Chandler said.

- Ryan Alessi

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