Political News

Hagan among those to see bin Laden photos

Posted May 17, 2011 6:07 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan is among the precious few to have seen the photographs of Osama bin Laden's corpse, her office said Tuesday.

The CIA is allowing members of the House and Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees to see the photos in a secure room at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va.

Sen. James Inhofe, a Senate Armed Services Committee member, said the photos include those taken at the scene of the rain in Pakistan and on board the U.S. Navy ship that buried bin Laden's body at sea. "It wasn't a very pretty picture," he said.

The Associated Press and others have requested copies of the photos and other materials under the Freedom of Information Act, which applies to the CIA but not to the White House. Legal experts initially wondered whether the White House would act as custodian of the photos and other records to keep the information from becoming public through the open records law.

The decision to send lawmakers to the CIA to see the images indicates that the agency controls the photos, said Daniel Metcalfe, executive director of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University's Washington College of Law. It also could mean that anyone who wants the photos could be in for a long wait and lengthy legal battle.