"These are graphic photographs of someone who was shot in the head. It is not in our national security interest to allow those images…to become icons to rally opinion against the United States," said White House Spokesman Jay Carney at a press conference Wednesday.
Carney said that the president does not want the photos used as propaganda or as a trophy of America's success at capturing and killing the al Qaeda mastermind.
"There is no question at all that Osama bin Laden is dead. He will not walk this earth again. We have established beyond any doubt through DNA evidence, facial recognition, visual recognition…that Osama bin Laden was shot and killed on Sunday night," Carney said.
Some 9/11 families and even former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani criticized that decision. Giuliani thinks that the photos could be leaked.
"Then you just relive the intensity of all this a month from now, two months from now, three months from now. Why not put them out now, satisfy at least the rational people who have questions about it," Giuliani said.
Giuliani will be at Ground Zero with Obama today.
ABC News' Jim Sciutto, Luis Martinez, Nick Schifrin, Brian Ross and Lisa Jones contributed to this report.