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Obama Signs Law Authorizing Suppression of Torture Photos

Among other things in the Homeland Security appropriations bill President Obama signed into law yesterday is a provision that authorizes the Defense Department

Jul 31, 2020
Among other things in the Homeland Security appropriations billPresident Obamasignedinto law yesterday is a provision that authorizes the Defense Departmentto continue to conceal photos of the torture and abuse of detainees by U.S. forces. The American Civil Liberties Union had specifically sought those photos, and sued to get them, among other documents relating to detainee abuse, in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The exemption signed, however, is much broader than simply the photos sought in the lawsuit. It would apply to any other photos taken between Sept. 11, 2001 and Jan.22, 2009 that the Secretary of Defense has certified would, if released, endanger U.S. citizens, servicemen, or employees overseas.
President Obama initially agreed to release the photos, but changed his mindafter consulting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others at the Pentagon, who warned the photos would endanger U.S. servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two federal courts have already heard and rejected that argument, however, ruling that the Freedom of Information Act can’t be trumped by citing unspecified dangers to unspecified potential targets of the anger that the information may produce. The government has appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.
The bill signed Wednesday is an effort to get around those court rulings, and to prevent a similar ruling from the high court.
Still, it’s not clear if passage of the new law will necessarily moot the pending court case. The lawyers could still try to challenge the new legislation or the Pentagon’s right to invoke it.
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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