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Washington - U.S. Lawyer: Images Of A Dead Bin Laden Still Dangerous

Published on: January 10, 2013 12:58 PM
By: Reuters
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This undated image from video, seized from the walled compound of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and released by the U.S. Department of Defense May 7, 2011, shows a man, identified as Osama bin Laden, watching President Barack Obama on his television. (AP)This undated image from video, seized from the walled compound of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and released by the U.S. Department of Defense May 7, 2011, shows a man, identified as Osama bin Laden, watching President Barack Obama on his television. (AP)

Washington - Twenty months after U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden, the United States told a court on Thursday it is not ready to release images taken after the al Qaeda leader’s death because they still might lead to violence.

A federal appeals court heard arguments in a lawsuit over whether the government must release the images under the Freedom of Information Act, a 1966 law that guarantees public access to some government records.

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President Barack Obama’s administration points to an exception in the law that covers documents classified in the interest of national defense.

“They’ll be used to inflame tensions. They’ll be used to inspire retaliatory attacks,” Justice Department lawyer Robert Loeb told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Riots or other forms of violence could threaten American soldiers as well as civilians in Afghanistan, Loeb said.

The government has 52 photographs or videos - the medium has not been revealed - from the May 2011 raid in which U.S. special forces killed bin Laden after more than a decade of searching. The images show a dead bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the transportation of his body to a U.S. ship and his burial at sea, the government has said.

Some of the photographs were taken so the CIA could conduct facial recognition analysis to confirm the body’s identity, according to court papers.

Two of the court’s three judges, Merrick Garland and Judith Rogers, asked questions indicating they were inclined to defer to the judgment of officials in sworn court affidavits advising against release.

“They’re telling us that could result in death - not just the release of secret information, but death,” Garland said. “Is that not something we should defer to?”

Michael Bekesha, a lawyer for Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group suing for the images, said the government failed to show the danger of releasing the less-graphic burial images.

Judicial Watch also claims that CIA officials might not have followed procedures when they classified the images as secret.

A decision from the appeals court is likely in the next few months. A lower court judge sided with the government in April.


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1

 Jan 10, 2013 at 03:19 PM shredready Says:

show the pictures there has been violence without the pictures. and there will be without is to

2

 Jan 10, 2013 at 03:57 PM Liepa Says:

Can someone please explain to these spoiled little cry babies that these pictures are very sensitive to a large percentage of the world's population and thus displaying them will 'inflame tensions and inspire retaliatory attacks' especially against our soldiers overseas, in the Muslim arena and that's the overriding factor to consider, period.

What, they don't believe OBL is history, is that then their reason for trying to force the government to provide the pictures because if so, they can dive down at the exact spot where the body was dumped in the ocean and see for themselves, since they have so much time on their hands.

The Freedom of Information Act wasn't intended to cause harm to Americans.

These loser's should get real jobs and not waste anyones time and money with such idiotic litigation!

3

 Jan 10, 2013 at 10:12 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

If they help us win this war, publish them. If they do not help us, suppress them.

4

 Jan 11, 2013 at 01:50 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #2  
Liepa Says:

Can someone please explain to these spoiled little cry babies that these pictures are very sensitive to a large percentage of the world's population and thus displaying them will 'inflame tensions and inspire retaliatory attacks' especially against our soldiers overseas, in the Muslim arena and that's the overriding factor to consider, period.

What, they don't believe OBL is history, is that then their reason for trying to force the government to provide the pictures because if so, they can dive down at the exact spot where the body was dumped in the ocean and see for themselves, since they have so much time on their hands.

The Freedom of Information Act wasn't intended to cause harm to Americans.

These loser's should get real jobs and not waste anyones time and money with such idiotic litigation!

“ Can someone please explain to these spoiled little cry babies...?"

Actually, I think you are doing a very good job of it. Still, spoiled little cry babies will keep crying, they just want their toy.

Gut shabbos.

5

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