TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Federal judges leery of release of post-killing bin Laden photos

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 7:50 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Skeptical-sounding federal judges on Thursday considered whether the public can see pictures of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden taken after he had been shot dead by Navy SEALs in a raid on his hideout two years ago.

The 52 pictures, some described as “graphic” and “gruesome” by a top CIA official, highlight a Freedom of Information Act fight that climaxes just as Hollywood's version of bin Laden's death hits movie theaters. But while Hollywood's depiction has attracted both critical acclaim and political heat and was accomplished with the CIA's help, the real-world pictures snapped by elite commandos seem destined to remain secret.

“They're telling us it's a risk ... that Americans will die if we release these documents,” Judge Merrick Garland said Thursday, adding that “when the government tells us this is likely to lead to death, shouldn't we defer to that (even) more than when they say it will result in the release of secret information?”

Judge Judith Rogers, who like Garland was appointed by a Democratic president, further cited “the concern that these images could be used as propaganda.” Echoing arguments made by Obama administration officials, Rogers suggested that the propaganda concern is aggravated by the late bin Laden's prominence as al-Qaida's leader.

The explicit fears raised by two members of a three-judge appellate panel during oral arguments provided a strong indication, though no guarantee, that the court will side with the Obama administration in keeping the bin Laden photos secret.

Rejecting the Freedom of Information Act bid from a legal advocacy group called Judicial Watch would add to the cloak draped around other politically sensitive military and spy actions since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Obama administration delays decision on Keystone XL pipeline
  2. Wyatt Earp gun sells for $225K at auction
  3. Records exonerate ‘X-Men’ director, attorney says
  4. SpaceX supply ship makes Easter cargo delivery to space station
  5. Grandmother left vengeful note in boys’ slayings, then committed suicide, police say
  6. Colorado deaths stoke marijuana worries
  7. Medicaid paid $12M for Illinois dead, audit finds
  8. Iranian envoy officially blocked by law
  9. Judge strikes down Minnesota’s anti-coal law as unconstitutional
  10. Recovery expert believes wreckage of missing plane located
  11. Hobby Lobby hypocrisy: Fighting birth control coverage, it invests in abortion drug maker
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.