A desire for catharsis, or perhaps just gruesome curiosity, has further stirred the photo frenzy. But in an interview with 60 Minutes that was recorded on Wednesday, Obama said the image was not going to be released. White House press secretary Jay Carney, who shared Obama's comments at Wednesday's press briefing, told reporters that the decision had not been finalized until the morning of the interview.
According to Carney, Obama reasoned that the photo might cause "incitement to additional violence" or become fodder for martyrdom among those already outraged by bin Laden's death. But Obama also made the case that, if released, the image would be an unnecessary war trophy that changes neither the implications of bin Laden's death nor the widespread conspiracy theories about the conditions under which it took place. "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies," Obama said. "There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see bin Laden walking on this earth again."
Not releasing the image will surely agitate conspiracy mongers like talk-radio hyperventilator Alex Jones, but evidence, photographic or otherwise, has never been much of an obstacle for Jones' black-helicopter fantasies. "Conspiracy theorists around the world will just claim the photos are doctored anyway, and there is a real risk that releasing the photos will only serve to inflame public opinion in the Middle East," Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers said on Wednesday.
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