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Court sides with Obama, Osama death photos can remain secret - for your own good

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (

A Federal Appeals court has ruled that the death photos of Osama bin Laden can remain secret. A conservative watchdog group had previously petitioned for release of the images.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the 1966 government could keep classified Osama bin Laden's death photos for fear they could create controversy and put American lives at risk.

The conservative group, Judicial Watch, applied for the release of the photos under the 1966 Freedom of Information Act, which mandates the declassification of some government documents. However, the act allows for the prolonged classification of some documents under certain circumstances.

In this case, the Obama administration argued the images could not be made public because releasing them could spark protests and riots in which Americans could be targeted.

The court ruled that the risk of violence outweighed the benefit of releasing the images and therefore, the images could remain classified under the exception to the Act.

According to officials, the images show Osama bin laden after his death at his compound in Pakistan, then while being transported, and finally during his burial at sea.

The government said some of the pictures were taken to aid in CIA facial recognition to confirm the kill.

Neither Judicial Watch or representatives from the Obama administration had comments following the close of the case.

The case is Judicial Watch Inc v. U.S. Department of Defense and CIA, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, No. 12-5137.

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