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Reuters Defends Decision To Publish Bin Laden Compound Photos

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NEW YORK -- The White House isn’t releasing photos of Osama bin Laden’s dead body, but that didn’t stop Reuters from publishing several gruesome photos Wednesday showing the aftermath of the U.S. raid on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan and sending them to clients of the wire service.

Reuters defended that decision in a statement to The Huffington Post.

"As this is a story of global importance, Reuters chose to share these photographs with its media clients and allow them to make editorial decisions on how they were used," a spokesperson said.

The news organization declined to comment further on photos showing three, unidentified men lying in pools of blood. (WARNING: the photographs can be viewed here but they are very graphic.)

But in an article accompanying the photos, Reuters said it purchased the photographs from a Pakistani security official who entered the compound about an hour after the U.S. raid took place that killed the al Qaeda leader. The official chose to remain anonymous.

“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,” the article read.

During Wednesday's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney read from a transcript of an interview President Barack Obama gave earlier in the day to "60 Minutes," whereby the president explained the reasoning behind not releasing a photo of bin Laden's corpse.

“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,” Obama told "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft.

The White House declined to comment on the Reuters photos.

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