JW Decries Appeals Court ‘Craven’ Ruling Supporting DOD, CIA Refusal to Release bin Laden Raid and Burial Images
MAY 21, 2013
Judicial Watch: ‘The opinion is craven, absurd, and undermines the rule of law.
The court’s interpretation would allow terrorists to dictate our laws.’
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today criticized a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirming a U.S. District Court decision allowing the Department of Defense (DOD) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to withhold 59 images from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound and the terrorist mastermind’s burial at sea (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency (No. 12-5137)). Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issued the following statement reacting to today’s ruling:
“The opinion is craven, absurd, and undermines the rule of law. The court seems to acknowledge that the images were improperly classified but gives the Obama administration a pass. The court’s interpretation would allow terrorists to dictate our laws. Americans’ fundamental right to access government information and, frankly, the First Amendment are implicated in this ruling. As one of the judges on this panel suggested that the Benghazi attack was caused by an Internet video, this decision is perhaps unsurprising. The courts need to stop rubberstamping this administration’s improper secrecy. There is no provision of the Freedom of Information Act that allows documents to be kept secret because their release might offend our terrorist enemies. Our lawyers are considering our next legal steps.”
The Appeals Court decision upheld an April 26, 2012, ruling by the District Court denying a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch seeking “all photographs and/or video recordings of Osama (Usama) bin Laden taken during and/or after the U.S. Military operation in Pakistan on or about May 1, 2011.”
While ruling against Judicial Watch, U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg had conceded, “Indeed, it makes sense that the more significant an event is to our nation – and the end of bin Laden’s reign of terror certainly ranks high – the more need the public has for full disclosure.”