Beaufort News

Wilson declines invitation to view bin Laden death photos

U.S. Rep Joe Wilson says he won't accept a recent offer by the CIA to view photographs of Osama bin Laden's body.

According to the Associated Press, the CIA extended an invitation to lawmakers who serve on the House and Senate intelligence and armed services committees to view photographs of the al-Qaida leader, killed this month by Navy SEALs during a raid on a compound in Pakistan.

Wilson, a West Columbia Republican whose district includes Beaufort County, serves on the House Armed Services Committee, but a spokesman said he is not interested in seeing the photographs.

"Congressman Wilson has full faith in the Navy SEALs' abilities," Neal Patel said. "He will not need to see the Osama bin Laden photos to verify the SEALs carried out their duty."

Other lawmakers have viewed the photos, which the White House has characterized as gruesome and refused to make public.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he spent about an hour looking over more than a dozen photos of bin Laden's body last week at the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Va.

One of the photos was of bin Laden's head and showed what appeared to be the fatal wound, according to Inhofe.

"Either a bullet, the significant bullet, went through the ear and out the eye socket, or vice versa," Inhofe told the AP. "It wasn't a very pretty picture."

The photos were taken at the scene and aboard the Navy ship that buried bin Laden's body at sea, the AP reported.

"There are always people who are going to say, 'Until I see it, I won't believe it,' " Inhofe said. "Those are the pictures that I think would convince anyone."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.