A conservative watchdog is asking a federal appeals court to shut down government claims that releasing postmortem pictures of Osama bin Laden would endanger national security.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will consider today Judicial Watch’s request for the release of 52 pictures that were taken in May 2011 after U.S. forces killed the mastermind behind the 9/11 attack, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Immediately following the raid, President Barack Obama said the White House wouldn’t be releasing the pictures in the interest of national security, the Post reported at the time.
“It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence. As a propaganda tool,” Obama told CBS News in May 2011. “You know, that’s not who we are. You know, we don’t trot out this stuff as trophies.”
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg agreed with the government in April when he ruled against Judicial Watch’s request, according to CNN.
“A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value,” Boasberg ruled. “Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more.”
Judicial Watch claimed it had a right to know “basic information about the killing of Osama bin Laden,” the group’s president Tom Fitton has said.
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