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No pics of dead bin Laden will be shown, president tells 60 Minutes

Steve Kroft and President Obama in Nov. 7th interview. CBS photo

President Obama and his network interviewer of choice, 60 Minutes Steve Kroft, made big headlines Wednesday with his declaration that photos of a dead Osama bin Laden will not be made public.

The interview was taped for Sunday's 60 Minutes, but CBS already has released the news and will air an excerpt of Obama's comments on Wednesday's CBS Evening News.

Kroft, who has interviewed Obama exclusively more than a half-dozen times since his 2008 election, asked the president if he had seen the pictures.

"Yes," he said.

"And what was your reaction when you saw them?"

"It was him."

"Why haven't you released them?"

Obama then answered at length, first telling Kroft that DNA testing absolutely verified that bin Laden had been killed.

"It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence -- as a propaganda tool," the president added. "That's not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies . . . I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he's gone. But we don't need to spike the football. And I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk."

Kroft then told Obama that some people in Pakistan will say, "Look, this is all a lie. This is another American trick. Osama's not dead."

"There's no doubt among al Quaeda members that he is dead," Obama answered. "And so we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. 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."

It's tempting to insert the easy Donald Trump joke here. But hopefully even he'll be above claiming that a conspiracy is at work. Others will be perfectly willing to say it's all a hoax, though -- and by no means will they be limited to Pakistanis.

We live in a world where flames are fanned quicker than you can say "Obama care." So if this mere TV critic/reporter were president for a day, a single photo of a dead bin Laden would be released for the world to see. Absent such gruesome proof, we can expect to be bombarded with another "What does Obama have to hide?" assault. The president's stated concerns are understandable. But one picture of the world's most-wanted terrorist with a bullet hole in his head doesn't seem to be asking too much under the circumstances.