WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks knew the CIA was closing in on Osama bin Laden before the al-Qaida leader was killed in a Navy SEAL team operation in Pakistan but has not seen postmortem photos of the slain al-Qaida leader, Dicks’ spokesman, George Behan, said last week.
Dicks, whose 6th District includes Clallam and Jefferson counties, “was aware of the CIA’s interest in a site for the past few months and has since been briefed about the actions of May 1-1,” Behan said Thursday in an email.
In an interview Friday, Behan was asked if Dicks wants to see the photos of bin Laden, who was shot in the chest and head in a compound in Abbottabad, about 40 miles northeast of the capital of Islamabad.
“He does not need to see the photos to prove to himself that bin Laden is dead,” Behan said.
“The information is clear and convincing that bin Laden is deceased,” Behan said.
“The only thing [Dicks] has said is that he is satisfied that based on all the evidence he’s seen, which has obviously been in classified briefings, is that the operation was a success and that bin Laden is dead.”
Dicks, in his 18th term, is a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence and the ranking Democrat on the House Defense Appropriations Committee
President Barack Obama has refused to release the photos, saying May 8 on “60 Minutes” that he did not want the photos “floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool.”
The Obama administration has said DNA evidence confirmed bin Laden’s identity.
On Friday, the Defense Department rejected The Associated Press’ May 2 request for an accelerated review of a Freedom of Information Act request for photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse.
The conservative Washington, D.C., group Judicial Watch filed suit Friday in federal court to release photos and any video recordings taken during the military operation.
________Senior staff writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-417-3536 or at [email protected]