Newsday: King sees pics of bin Laden’s head wounds

BY Tom Brune
Friday, May 13th, 2011

WASHINGTON — After viewing a half-dozen photos of the slain Osama bin Laden at CIA headquarters Friday morning, U.S. Rep. Peter King said he’s satisfied the terror chief is dead.

King, who was invited to see the photos as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, conceded that some of the photos were “graphic,” but said, “Most people could take them without being shocked.”

The Seaford Republican said he spent about 25 minutes in a private room with a CIA official looking at color photos, in plastic covers in a photo album, that showed bin Laden after being shot, being washed for the burial and in a white shroud on the aircraft carrier.

“I saw several shots of him shot over his left eye, with severe damage over the eye and part of his skull is missing. His eyes are open, his mouth is open,” King said in an interview Friday morning.

“Two or three photos are of his body being washed for the burial, and finally, there’s one of him in a shroud,” he said. “It appears he was on the platform or a plank.”

Officials have said that bin Laden was shot in the head and chest. None of the photos showed the shot to bin Laden’s chest, King said.

“They showed a photo that was taken of him when he was alive. So you can see bone structure, the shape of the forehead, the nose, the mouth,” King said. “It seemed like him to me.”

That photo was not taken during the raid.

Recalling his friends and constituents killed or who lost a loved one on 9/11, King said, “I had a very real sense of satisfaction.”

President Barack Obama barred the release of the photos to the public, but the CIA invited 114 members of the congressional Intelligence and Armed Services committees to come to their headquarters to see them.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), an Armed Services committee member, declined.

Some members of Congress who have seen the photos said they’re “graphic” or “gory.”

“Well, anytime a piece of a person’s head is blown off, it’s graphic,” King said.

But he said he thinks the CIA should offer to show the pictures to all members of Congress for when they go back to their districts and are asked about the raid that killed bin Laden.

And he said the CIA should consider showing some photos to families of victims or survivors of al-Qaida terrorist attacks against Americans.

“I think they could find one or two of the photos that are not graphic at all,” he said. “One taken on the right side of the face doesn’t show the damage to his head.”