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Nevada leaders differ on releasing bin Laden photos

Nevada political leaders Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Joe Heck found themselves on opposite sides Tuesday in a debate over whether the Obama administration should release photos of a dead Osama bin Laden.

“The photos have to be released most definitely, to make sure we get rid of any conspiracy theorists that think we did not take care of bin Laden,” Heck, a Republican and member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an online interview with ABC News.

But Democrat Reid, the Senate’s majority leader, said he was not eager to have the photos made public.

“I personally think it is morbid, and I am not one that is going to be yelling to make the photo public. But that is a decision that will be made by the president,” Reid told reporters at his weekly news conference. He added that he had not seen the photos.

Heck and Reid were in agreement on a related topic: whether the United States should cut off aid to Pakistan as questions swirled as to what extent the country’s leaders or military were aware that bin Laden was hiding out in a compound outside Islamabad.

Reid said he was in favor of cutting a break for Pakistan, which receives about $3 billion annually in U.S. assistance.

“Pakistan for a long time now has been a partner in many of the things we are doing to thwart the Taliban and al-Qaida,” Reid said.

“This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have more oversight, and I am willing to do that. I hope we will have better oversight of the money we are giving them.”

Heck told ABC: “I don’t think we need to cut off aid just yet. We need to further clarify our relationship with Pakistan … but they are still a critical asset and ally in the fight against terror, and we need to continue that relationship.”

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760.

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