Graham: “Independent” Authority Should Have Confirmed Osama’s Death


Having already called on the White House to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s body, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) now says that independent experts should have been brought into verify bin Laden’s identity before the body was buried at sea. 

“I think it would have been smart to have an independent group, forensic scientists, maybe from Scotland Yard or some other organization,” said Graham. The South Carolina Republican softened his earlier criticism of the White House being overly sensitive to Islamic traditions in expediting bin Laden’s burial—but said Obama shouldn’t have rushed the proceedings. “Religious sensitivity is smart… but [we could have held] onto body for period of time to allow for indispensable analysis to help us make the case,” he told reporters.

Graham’s statement echoes calls by other Republicans for the release of bin Laden photos. Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV.) told ABC News that releasing images was necessary “to make sure we get rid of any conspiracy theorists that think that we didn’t take care of bin Laden,” referring to the so-called “deathers” who’ve emerged on the fringes of the debate.

Graham, to be sure, also praised Obama effusively for authorizing the bin Laden raid, adding “I have no doubt we have the right guy.” But in criticizing the White House for failing to provide sufficient proof of bin Laden’s death, Graham and his GOP colleagues may—intentionally or not—be feeding the notion that the public can’t trust Obama, and enabling the very conspiracy theorists they claim they’re trying to quell.

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  • Suzy Khimm was a reporter in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones from March 2010 until June 2011. For more of her stories, click here. Follow her on Twitter here.