You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • Turkey considers Iraq, Syria incursions
     ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s parliament on Thursday was considering a motion that would give the government new powers to launch military incursions in Syria and Iraq and allow foreign forces to use its territory for
  • Hong Kong police warn protesters not to charge buildings
     HONG KONG – Hong Kong police warned of serious consequences if pro-democracy protesters try to occupy or surround government buildings, as they have threatened to do if the territory’s leader doesn’t resign by
  • Latest suicide attack in Afghanistan kills 3
      KABUL, Afghanistan – Officials say that a suicide bomber has killed three army officers and wounded seven others in Kabul, a day after two such attacks killed 11.
Advertisement

Judges seem wary of call for bin Laden photos

– Federal appeals court judges seemed skeptical Thursday about forcing the government to release photos and video taken of Osama bin Laden during and after a raid in which the terrorist leader was killed by U.S. commandos.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, is seeking the images through the Freedom of Information Act. The CIA found 52 responsive records. The intelligence agency withheld all of them, citing exemptions for classified materials and information specifically exempted by other laws.

Judicial Watch lawyer Michael Bekesha told the appeals court panel in arguments Thursday that the government didn’t provide a specific enough basis for denying the request. But Judge Merrick Garland said the government cited specific concerns that the images could be used by the al-Qaida terrorist network for propaganda and to incite anti-American sentiment.

“Why aren’t those specific?” asked Garland, an appointee of Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Bekesha said that the government didn’t provide the justification for each of the 52 records and how each one of them would cause harm. He suggested that graphic photos of bin Laden’s corpse should be distinguished from somber images of bin Laden’s burial at sea, for example.

Judith W. Rogers, also a Clinton appointee, said this wasn’t a typical case because bin Laden was the al-Qaida founder.

Bekesha replied that the judges are capable of making those kinds of determinations and that the images sought are not like records of secret conversations or secret U.S. security locations overseas.

“Isn’t this worse?” Garland asked, because the government says the release could lead to deaths.

The court, Bekesha said, should “not just rubber-stamp” the government’s findings of what might cause harm.

John Bennett, director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, said many of the photos and video recordings are “quite graphic, as they depict the fatal bullet wound to and other similarly gruesome images of his corpse.” Images were taken of bin Laden’s body at the compound where he was killed by a Navy SEAL team and during his burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson, Bennett said.

Advertisement