The news service bought images showing Osama associates lying in pools of blood inside the raided Abbottabad compound
Editor's note: This story contains photos that some readers may find disturbing.
President Obama and the White House may not be releasing the grisly photos of Osama Bin Laden's corpse, but other gruesome photos purportedly taken during the U.S. raid on Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad have been leaked to the press.
A set of images — which apparently show several of Bin Laden's aides unarmed and lying in pools of blood — were published by Reuters on Wednesday.
Reuters said it bought the images from a "Pakistani security official" who took them about an hour after the raid. There are no pictures of Bin Laden, whose body had already been seized by U.S. operatives.
"The photos [were] taken by a Pakistani security official who entered the compound after the early morning raid on Monday," Reuters said. "The official, who wished to remain anonymous, sold the pictures. Reuters is confident of the authenticity of the purchased images because details in the photos appear to show a wrecked helicopter from the assault, matching details from photos taken independently on Monday.”
Reuters did not disclose what it paid the unnamed Pakistani official for the images. When contacted by TheWrap, a spokesperson for Reuters would not comment further. (One small Reuters photo is at left. Others follow on the second page. Warning: They are extremely graphic in nature.)
Earlier Wednesday, Obama told "60 Minutes" on Wednesday that the White House had decided not to release the photos, some of which apparently show Bin Laden with a “gaping gunshot wound to the head.”
"It is important 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 or as a propaganda tool," Obama told CBS News' Steve Croft in an interview that will air Sunday. "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies."
"We discussed this internally," Obama said. "Keep in mind, we are absolutely certain that this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama Bin Laden."
The president added: "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."
The decision followed some debate among senior White House officials, who were split on what to do with the photos.
"The bottom line is we got Bin Laden," CIA director Leon Panetta said on Tuesday. "I think we have to reveal to the rest of the world the fact that we were able to get him and kill him."
The Reuters photos purportedly from the Bin-Laden compound follow. Warning: They are graphic.