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Obama: Bin Laden photos won't be released

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Obama: Bin Laden photos won't be released
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses intelligence personnel at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., to thank them for their service in the Osama bin Laden operation, May 20, 2011. UPI/Martin H. Simon/POOL | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Releasing photos and videos of Osama bin Laden after his May death could expose military and intelligence secrets, a top CIA official said.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, the executive branch filed papers Monday explaining why the White House will not release 52 photos and videos of the dead al-Qaida founder, Politico reported Tuesday.

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CIA National Clandestine Service Director John Bennett wrote in the report that releasing the photos would reveal "intelligence activities and/or methods" that could cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security.

Some FOIA experts say the administration has a good chance succeeding in withholding the images because courts traditionally defer to the executive branch in matters involving national security. Others say the government's arguments are weak because they focus on a public relations impact.

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