Not one, not two, but three Replublican U.S. Senators claimed to have seen an official photo of a dead Osama bin Laden after leaving a briefing by CIA director Leon Panetta. In the words of one-time GOP golden boy pin up model, Scott Brown, the supposedly official photo showed bin Laden was “definitely dead.”
Which was odd, because a number of other Senators who were there, including intel committee chair Dianne Feinstein and GOP Armed Services committee top man, John McCain, said they hadn’t seen any such photo.
A day later, ‘corrections’ were being sheepishly issued.
Turns out, of course, that the Republican senators fell for one or more fake photos circulating on the internet and in email (some of which is part of a Trojan horse strategy to distribute malware).
But some of their Democratic rivals and adversaries are pressing as to why the Senators suggested they’d seen official photos, presumably as part of the Panetta briefing — and why, given the nature of what they did see — they were so convinced that they’d seen the real thing.
This isn’t necessarily the little peccadillo that the senators would like to make it out to be.
Brown, in particular, is being called to task for his brash assurances that he’d seen official death photos of bin Laden, as the Boston Globe notes.
In an interview after the Panetta briefing, Brown had said: “Listen, I’ve seen the picture. He’s definitely dead.”
He later issued a one sentence disclaimer saying the photos he’d seen were fakes but declined to give any details on where he’d seen them or why he had previously been so unequivocal in his implication that the photos were the real deal.
GOP Senator from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss, later said the image he’d seen was merely an “electronic image” and that it was not from an official briefing or document. Fellow Republican, Kelly Ayotte, from Brown’s neighbor state, New Hampshire later said she’d been shown the bogus photo by an unnamed senator and assumed it was real.