” A Washington, D.C. federal appeals court has agreed to hear the case filed by Judicial Watch to release all 52 photographs of a dead Osama bin Laden and his burial at sea. However, judging from the in-court questioning by at least one of the judges, it is unlikely that the court will overturn the lower court’s decision to keep the pictures out of the public domain, safe and secure with the CIA.
Judicial Watch is a conservative watchdog group that argues that keeping the photos secret undermines the Obama administration’s transparency claims. In court filings last month, they argued that bin Laden’s dead body pictures “depict more than just a bloody mess.” The CIA has custody and control of the photos, some of which show what it deems innocuous images of bin Laden’s body being prepared for burial while others show the actual burial at sea itself.
Michael Bekesha is an attorney for Judicial Watch. He argues that there is “no apparent nexus” between secret or classified intelligence activities and photos which show bin Laden’s burial or preparation for burial. He has stated also that the Obama administration has not satisfactorily shown precisely how the images, even the non-graphic ones, would or could be reasonably expected to “cause identifiable or describable exceptionally grave damage to national security,” which is, of course, the government’s main objection to their release. “
- Judges seem wary of release of bin Laden photos (newsobserver.com)
- Court skeptical on release of Osama bin Laden photos (politico.com)
- DOJ Defends Secrecy of Post-Mortem Osama bin Laden Photos (legaltimes.typepad.com)
- Bin Laden death photos might not see the light of day (miamiherald.com)
- Bin Laden photos ruling (wtvr.com)