US federal appeals court considering releasing bin Laden's postmortem photos

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 10:40 hrs

A federal appeals court in the US is considering whether the public has a right to view postmortem photos of Osama bin Laden.

The lawsuit, filed by a conservative-leaning watchdog group, is seeking the release of 52 photos that followed the operation in May 2011.

The government argues, and a lower court judge agreed, that the photos must be kept secret in the interest of national security.

Some defense and intelligence officials have expressed concern in court documents that the release of the images would incite violence against Americans.

According to the Washington Post, in seeking to reverse the lower court ruling, the group Judicial Watch argued that the exemption the government cites to the Freedom of Information Act is too vague.

The group asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to ensure that the exceptions "do not become sweeping exemptions."

President Barack Obama announced the successful raid on bin Laden's compound last May and released a description of his burial in the North Arabian Sea. Obama said at the time that photos were taken and that "facial analysis" was used to confirm bin Laden's identity.

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes", Obama explained the administration's rationale for not releasing the photos.

In April, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that the images would remain secret.

According to the report, he wrote that he found the explanations from national security officials of the possible risk of "grave harm to our future national security is more than mere speculation.

Boasberg acknowledged that many members of the public might want to see photos related to such a significant event. (ANI)

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