Group sues over bin Laden photos

May 16, 2011 at 11:35 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- By law the American public has a right to see basic details such as photographic evidence of the death of Osama bin Laden, a public interest group said.

The advocacy group Judicial Watch announced Monday it filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department seeking "all photography and/or video recordings" of bin Laden taken during a raid on his compound in Pakistan "on or about May 2, 2011."

U.S. President Barack Obama announced late May 1, Eastern Daylight Time, that a team of specially trained troops stormed a compound in Pakistan and killed bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida.

The Obama administration hasn't released evidence proving bin Laden is dead, though U.S. lawmakers who said they viewed several photographs described them as gruesome. Bin Laden was reportedly shot above the left eye.

Judicial Watch said it filed a FOIA request May 3 with the Defense Department but was told the Pentagon was "unable to make a release determination" within the 20-day period outlined for FOIA requests. A separate FOIA request with the CIA went unanswered.

"The American people have a right to know, by law, basic information about the killing of Osama bin Laden. Incredibly, the Obama administration told us that it has no plans to comply with the Freedom of Information law, so we must now go to court," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.

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