Judge Blocks Release of bin Laden Death Photos

CIA, Pentagon had good reasons to keep images classified, he decides

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 27, 2012 1:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – A federal judge, saying he wasn't prepared to second-guess the Pentagon and CIA's reasoning in the matter, has rejected a request to order the release of photos and video taking during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden a year ago next week. The watchdog group Judicial Watch had sought the release of the records, along with those from bin Laden's burial at sea, under the Freedom of Information Act. The Defense Department said it had found no photos or video sought by the group, while the CIA said it had 52 records but declined to release them, citing exemptions to the act, reports Reuters.

"A picture may be worth a thousand words," the judge wrote, explaining he was "mindful that many members of the public would likely desire to see" the images. "Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more." Defense officials say releasing the images of bin Laden's corpse and his burial at sea would endanger Americans overseas and compromise secret techniques used by the CIA and the military. Judicial Watch appealed the ruling.

Photos of bin Laden with a fatal head wound should stay classified, the judge decided.
Photos of bin Laden with a fatal head wound should stay classified, the judge decided.   (AP Photo, File)
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