Bin Laden Death Photos FOIA Case Focuses on His Burial at Sea

John Hudson
The Atlantic Wire

The high-profile legal battle over the disclosure of Osama bin Laden’s death photos is beginning to focus on images of the terrorist leader’s burial in the North Arabian Sea. On Wednesday night, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed court papers in its suit against the Defense Department and the CIA for the release of “all photographs and/or video recordings” taken on the night bin Laden was killed. The 19-page brief challenges the government’s rationale for withholding images but gives explicit focus to the images taken on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson prior to his burial.

“Release of images of bin Laden’s body – particularly those images showing the body cleaned and prepared for burial and being buried at sea – would not reveal any previously unknown covert intelligence missions,” reads the filing. In its brief filed last month, the Justice Department argued that all 52 photographs or videos taken of bin Laden “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.” The DOJ didn’t differentiate between the gory photos taken immediately after he was shot and the less graphic photos of the burial. It gave a blanket argument that all materials must be withheld because they contain images of U.S. Navy SEAL members, advanced military equipment, secret intelligence methods and could incite violence in the Muslim world.

Last night, Judicial Watch took issue with those arguments as applied to the burial photos…

The article, including a copy of Judicial Watch’s filing, is at The Atlantic Wire

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