King: Let victims' families see photos
By: Jennifer Epstein
May 13, 2011
Rep. Peter King arrived in the parking lot at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., at 7 a.m. on Friday seeking a sense of satisfaction.
By the time he left an hour later, he had found it.
For about 20 minutes, the Homeland Security Committee chairman sat in a room in the agency’s congressional affairs office, paging through an unusual photo album: images of a man, dead, displayed side-by-side with pictures of Osama bin Laden, alive, taken from similar angles.
“After seeing them, I’m convinced that it was bin Laden, and he’s dead,” the New York Republican told POLITICO Friday, soon after returning to Capitol Hill. “I’m sure it was the same guy: We got him.”
King is one of the first members of Congress to see the photos, after quickly accepting an offer that’s been extended to members of committees that deal with national security.
The congressman said he flipped through the plastic-covered photos three or four times, doing his own comparisons of bin Laden’s nose and mouth and just taking in what he saw before him.
In all, the Long Island congressman said that there were about half a dozen photos of bin Laden taken in his Pakistani compound that showed the head wounds from different angles. One photo showed bin Laden’s corpse “in the aircraft carrier being washed down,” while another showed him shrouded on the deck of the ship “on a plank, almost, hanging off the ship.”
On Wednesday, before he saw the photos, King told POLITICO that “to actually see the person with my own eyes who did it, see him dead … gives me some satisfaction.”
His hopes were fulfilled. “Satisfaction — I did, I felt it,” he said Friday. “Considering all the people I knew who were killed on Sept. 11, I felt some satisfaction in seeing him dead.”
Though King initially had called for President Barack Obama to release the photos publicly, he said earlier this week that it was “not a strong matter of disagreement.” Nonetheless, he said that he thinks the families of Sept. 11 victims should have the opportunity to gain the same sense of satisfaction he got at Langley on Friday.
The Obama administration, King said, should “try to put a mechanism in place, a process in place where certain members of families would have the opportunity to see the photos.” The viewings would have to be limited to only close family members, he said.
“A number of families have said they would not get closure” from seeing the photos, King explained. But for those “who said that they would, they should.”