WASHINGTON – Three Maine lawmakers will pass up their chance to view photographs of Osama bin Laden’s body.

Republican U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe and Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree are declining the offer, as select members of Congress, to view the top secret photos of bin Laden, taken after the al-Qaida terrorist leader was shot dead by Navy Seals.

Pingree, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday that, “I have full faith that the Navy Seals killed (bin Laden) and positively identified him with photographic and DNA evidence. … I don’t intend to request a viewing of the Osama bin Laden photographs.”

Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said that after receiving “numerous top secret briefings” from agencies such as the CIA, the FBI and the commander of the bin Laden operation, Vice Adm. William McRaven, “I am certain that Osama bin Laden is dead and have no need to see the pictures.”

Collins also noted that al-Qaida has publicly conceded that its leader is dead.

Snowe, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said, “I don’t intend to see the photos. I have enough information to convince me beyond the shadow of a doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead.”

Members of the House and Senate armed services and intelligence committees have been given the opportunity to view the photographs at CIA headquarters, several news outlets have reported.

President Obama decided not to make the photos available to the public, saying it was not appropriate to “spike the football” over the killing of the Sept. 11 mastermind.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at:

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