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Osama bin Laden: 'He's gone. He's history,' senator says after seeing photos

May 12, 2011|By James Oliphant | Washington Bureau
(Susan Walsh / Associated…)

Reporting from Washington   — A U.S. senator who has seen the photographs of the slain Osama bin Laden has no doubt the man he saw was the former leader of Al Qaeda.

“He’s gone. He’s history,” said James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who became one of few to see the photos of Bin Laden that the White House has so far refused to release.

Inhofe, appearing on CNN’s "In the Arena" Wednesday evening, described Bin Laden’s death at the hands of the U.S. military in Pakistan in graphic detail, saying that in the pictures he viewed, Bin Laden had either been shot in the eye socket, or a bullet traveled through the ear and exited the eye socket.

“That was pretty grueling,” Inhofe told host Eliot Spitzer.

But the Republican said he was most struck by photos of the cleaned-up corpse prior to his burial, and suggested those photos should be released to the public.

“They had taken enough blood and material off his face so it was easier to identify who it was,” said Inhofe, who said he saw 15 photos in all at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency on Wednesday, including some that showed Bin Laden alive. “Now those are the ones — and then of course the burial at sea, had the transition — first of all, identifying who it was.”

Inhofe did not accept the Obama administration's assertion that releasing the photos could inflame some sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

“I don't buy this whole concept that's coming out of the White House that, you know, you don't want to do this, you might make the terrorists mad. Well, you know, those people want to kill all of us anyway. They've tried 32 times, maybe more than that, during the — since 9/11 on very sophisticated plans to do some — inflict a lot of harm to America,” Inhofe said. “We've stopped each one of them. So if they have a way of doing it, they're going to do it anyway. It's not going to be because they have seen some gruesome picture.”

In the course of the interview, Inhofe joined the ranks of several politicians and media figures who have transposed Bin Laden’s name with that of the president, at one point saying, “Three of first 12 pictures were of Obama when he was alive.”

Watch the interview:

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