We won't trot out Osama photos as trophies: Obama

Announcing Obama's decision "not to release any of the photographs of deceased Osama bin Laden", White House Press Secretary Jay Carney read a quote from Obama to CBS "60 Minutes" to be telecast Sunday.

"When they landed, we had very strong confirmation that it was him. Photographs had been taken. Facial analysis had indicated that in fact it was him. We hadn't yet done DNA testing, but at that point we were 95 percent sure."

Obama saw the pictures? "Yes."

Reaction? "It was him."

Why not release them? "We discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing. So there was no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden."

"It is very important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of someone shot in the head are not floating around ... as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are," Obama said.

"We don't trot out this stuff as trophies. ... I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don't need to spike the football. ... would create some national security risk."

Carney said in reaching the decision about not releasing the photos, Obama talked about it with Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"He held his opinion very firmly," Carney said.

Asked about CIA Director Leon Panetta's claim that a photo would be released, Carney said there's a "compelling argument" for releasing information. He says Obama was "engaged" in the discussion.

We won't trot out Osama photos as trophies: Obama

Osama would have been taken alive if he had surrendered: White House

The American commando team that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden would have taken him alive if he had surrendered, the White House said Wednesday.

"If he had surrendered ... then that would have been bringing him to justice as well," press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "But he was brought to justice on Sunday."

The American team "had the authority to kill Osama bin Laden unless he offered to surrender," he said. Asked about Pakistan's claim that the raid was unlawful, Carney asserted, "The raid was entirely lawful".

"We have a complicated but vital and important relationship with Pakistan," he said. "We don't agree on everything. But their cooperation has been essential."

Asked about the "firefight" in the bin Laden raid Sunday, and who was firing back at American forces, Carney said the White House has been "as helpful as we can be to provide as much information as we can", but that the administration won't be releasing details yet.

On where bin Laden was shot, Carney said: "Above the neck." He said he would not go into "operational details" of the Osama bin Laden raid, but he said that the American team's efforts "dramatically minimised collateral damage".

Asked if bin Laden's location have been known without torture techniques, Carney said: "I can say with certainty that no single piece of information, with the exception of the address of the compound, was vital to this, was singularly vital to this, because we're talking about tiny bits of information that were compiled by unbelievably competent professionals ... over nine and a half years." There was no "thread" that "held the thought together", he said