Video After The Jump
Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama has decided not to release photos of Osama bin Laden's body as evidence of his death, an administration official briefed by the White House told CNN Wednesday.
The decision settles the debate over whether to release the images, though Obama's choice is sure to garner criticism.
Earlier, two top senators involved in national security said the photos of bin Laden's corpse should be released.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, who chairs the Armed Services Committee -- and who has not seen the photos -- said the United States should wait to allow the emotions of people around the world who may be sympathetic to bin Laden to cool down.
"I'd let a little time pass so we that we don't play into the hands of people who want to retaliate with what obviously will be a sensational picture. I would not want to feed that sensation so I'd wait days or weeks," he said.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee -- who said he has seen the photos -- said they should be made public right away.
"I think the question is, what's the negative that could come from it?" Chambliss asked. "One of these days they're going to be released; it's a question of whether it be now on our terms or (let) somebody else do it."
Chambliss described the photos as "what you would expect from somebody who's been shot in the head. It's not pretty."
The two men answered questions from reporters as they entered a classified briefing in the Capitol on the bin Laden raid with CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Neither lawmaker immediately commented after news of Obama's decision leaked out.
Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said he was against releasing any photos, saying that he didn't want to make the job of U.S. troops abroad "any harder than it already is."
"Imagine how the American people would react if al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the Internet. Osama bin Laden is not a trophy -- he is dead and let's now focus on continuing the fight until al Qaeda has been eliminated," he said.
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