Judicial Watch Statement on Federal Court Decision Blocking Public Access to bin Laden Death Photos and Videos
APRIL 27, 2012
“If Obama is so concerned with how terrorists might react to these photos, then why has he made bin Laden’s death the cornerstone of his reelection campaign?”
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement today in response to a Thursday, April 26 decision by federal Judge James Boasberg of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia blocking access to photos and videos taken of the deceased Osama bin Laden (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense, et al (1:11-cv-00890)).
On May 4, 2011, President Obama told CBS News in an interview that he would not release the death photos of Osama bin Laden, who was captured and killed by U.S. Navy Seals, to the public, saying “we don’t need to spike the football” or “gloat.” Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on May 13, 2011, to gain access to the photos or video. The Obama administration denied access to the records citing vague national security implications.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated:
The court got it terribly wrong. There is no provision under the Freedom of Information Act that allows documents to be kept secret because their release might offend our terrorist enemies. We will appeal.
The Obama campaign seems perfectly happy to “spike the football” on the bin Laden raid to collect votes for his reelection. If Obama is so concerned with how terrorists might react to these photos, then why has he made bin Laden’s death a cornerstone of his reelection campaign?
Barack Obama has taken a schizophrenic approach to the bin Laden raid. On the one hand he doesn’t want to spike the football for fear of offending terrorists abroad while on the other he gloats about it here at home. He can’t have it both ways. And the president’s secrecy on this issue flies in the face of his promises of transparency.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeks “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.” As Judicial Watch noted in its court filings, Judicial Watch “does not seek the production of any photographs or video recordings that have been properly classified or would actually cause harm to the national security by revealing intelligence methods or the identity of U.S. personnel or classified technology. [Judicial Watch] solely seeks those records that have not been properly classified as well as those records for which no military or intelligence secrets would be revealed.”