THE DEGRADATION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED: Obama Reverses Decision On Abu Ghraib Pix Release


WASHINGTON POST: President Obama will oppose the release of several dozen photos depicting abuse of detainees held in U.S. military custody abroad, reversing his previous position on the grounds that the pictures could inflame anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. troops. In announcing the shift today, the White House said in a statement that Obama “strongly believes that the release of these photos, particularly at this time, would only serve the purpose of inflaming the theaters of war, jeopardizing US forces, and making our job more difficult in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.” Justice Department officials told a federal judge late last month that the U.S. government did not intend to fight a court order to turn over a total of 44 photos, which were sought by the American Civil Liberties Union under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. A U.S. attorney was unequivocal in a letter to the judge on April 23: “The parties have reached an agreement that the Defense Department will produce all the responsive images by May 28, 2009.” But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters yesterday that Obama has “great concern” about the impact that releasing the photos would have on soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. The administration said today that Obama met last week with White House lawyers and informed them that he did not “feel comfortable” releasing the photos because of the reaction they could cause against U.S. troops and because “he believes that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented to the court.” At the end of the meeting, Obama directed the lawyers to object to the release of the photos. MORE

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