White House Backpedals on Releasing Torture Photos

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2009 9:01 AM CDT
An officer replaces a picture of outgoing President George W. Bush with that of newly-sworn-in President Barack Obama, in the lobby of the US Naval Station, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Jan. 20, 2009.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, FILE)
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(Newser) – The White House is rethinking its promise to release photos of detainees being abused in US custody, press secretary Robert Gibbs suggested yesterday, saying President Obama has “great concern” about the impact they would have. At issue are 44 photos targeted in a Freedom of Information Act suit by the ACLU. A US attorney told a judge last month that the Defense Department had agreed to turn over the photos by May 28.

Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham wrote Obama last week, arguing that releasing photos of the now-banned practices “can serve no public good, but will empower al-Qaeda propaganda operations.” Now Gibbs says Obama is worried about the effect the photos might have on troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Asked if Obama would intervene to prevent their release, Gibbs said, “I don’t want to get into that right now.” (Read more torture stories.)