A spokesman for Senator Scott Brown refused to say if he will travel to the CIA to see photos of a dead Osama bin Laden, after the agency offered today to show them to members of a congressional committee upon which the Republican serves.
The only other member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation who would qualify under the same offer, Democrat Niki Tsongas, will decline.
“The congresswoman is convinced that Osama bin Laden was killed and will not be requesting to see the photos,” said spokesman John Noble.
Brown spokesman Colin Reed said, “No comment on this.”
Tsongas serves on the House Armed Services Committee, while Brown serves on its Senate counterpart. The CIA has also offered to show the photos to members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees if they travel to its headquarters in Langley, Va.
Brown became enmeshed in controversy last week, after he said in several interviews that he had seen the photos and was convinced bin Laden was dead.
The senator spoke as President Obama weighed their release amid conspiracy theories about the terrorist's demise, and interest from 9/11 family members to see proof of his death in a May 2 raid in Pakistan by US forces.
Ultimately, Obama decided against their release, concerned they could incite further anti-American violence.
Hours after Brown spoke, though, the senator’s staff issued a one-sentence statement saying he had been duped. The photo he saw, the statement said, was a fake that had been placed on the Internet.
The episode proved to be an embarrassment for the freshman senator.
Democrats gearing up to challenge Brown for re-election next year have delighted in criticizing him.
“While most Americans were celebrating our nation’s most important victory to date in our war against Al Qaeda, Scott Brown wanted to be a part of the story so bad that he was careless with the facts and misled Massachusetts families,” a spokesman for the Massachusetts Democratic Party said in a statement.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.