The Obama administration is carefully weighing whether or not to release the photos of a deceased Usama bin Laden for fear of stoking latent anger among bin Laden's supporters.
"Well I think we have to consider ramifications in terms of putting out another public image into this international debate; a debate that our enemies routinely misuse, mischaracterize for propaganda purposes," Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough told Fox's Bret Baier.
"So we're not gonna put out another image into this debate that will put at risk our troops, our intelligence professionals, our diplomats, or even especially our private citizens overseas," he continued.
The pictures do in fact exist. A U.S. official confirms to Fox that they include at least two sets of photos of bin Laden's body-- one at a hangar in Afghanistan and another aboard the aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson. Those photos were taken after the body was washed but before it was placed in a shroud and buried at sea. The guidance Fox has been given indicates that the photos at the hangar are most recognizable but also the most graphic.
"It's fair to say it is a gruesome photograph," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters of one image Tuesday.
The matter of whether to release the pictures is something that the administration does not want to rush. "It is certainly possible, and this is an issue that we are taking into consideration, is that it could be inflammatory," Carney adds.
That's not to say there is internal administration turmoil as officials weigh in on either side, says Carney. "There is not some roiling debate here about this. There is simply a discussion about what the appropriate action should be."
When asked if the president was involved in that discussion, Carney replied, "The president is intimately involved in all aspects of this operation."
White House Correspondent Wendell Goler contributed to this report.
TUNE IN TO SPECIAL REPORT WITH BRET BAIER AT 6P EASTERN TIME ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR DENIS McDONOUGH.