Watchdog seeks bin Laden photo, says White House 'not above the law'

In summary, a conservative legal watchdog group is suing the CIA and Defense Department for the release of photos and videos of the May raid that killed Osama bin Laden. They argue that the American people have a right to know basic information about the operation and that President Obama's reluctance to release the documents is not a lawful reason. This lawsuit serves as a reminder that the government is not above the law. Some argue that the photos should be released to provide proof of the operation, while others believe it could pose a national security risk. However, Al-Qaeda
  • #1
Museigen
A conservative legal watchdog group says the deadline is up and is suing the CIA and Defense Department to release photos and videos of the May raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

"The American people by law have a right to know basic information about the killing of Osama bin Laden," Tom Fitton, president of Washington-based Judicial Watch, said in a statement. "President Obama's personal reluctance to release the documents is not a lawful basis for withholding them. The Obama administration will now need to justify its lack of compliance in federal court. This historic lawsuit should remind the administration that it is not above the law."
http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/1...says-white-house-not-above-the-law/?hpt=hp_t2
Thoughts?
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
They'll get over it. I am not even sure from that what their beef is.
 
  • #3
russ_watters said:
They'll get over it. I am not even sure from that what their beef is.

That the government needs a better reason to withhold the photos than "It'll make muslims sad." If the government can withhold these photos for that particular reason, it can be used to withhold evidence of abuses that they commit, such as at Abu Ghraib.

I personally hope that they win their suit, and that the government is forced to release the photos.
 
  • #4
How about: top secret, national security.

And I don't like "slippery slope" arguments, especially when the points are so unrelated.
 
  • #5
russ_watters said:
How about: top secret, national security.
Haven't you heard Russ, the Government is supposed to post all of our nation's security information on youtube so that all of the curious people can watch, not to mention our enemies. Heck, let's be the first country to do away with national security. :rolleyes:

Museigen, everyone already knows the basic information of what happened. Someone should counter-sue the people suing. This is beyond ridiculous, IMO.
 
  • #6
"Not above the law," eh? What law, specifically, requires the government to release photos from military operations?
 
  • #7
Jack21222 said:
"Not above the law," eh? What law, specifically, requires the government to release photos from military operations?

Good point. And what would be the purpose?
 
  • #8
arguments of "top secret, national security" are silly. it's proof of a task that americans have been asked to spend ungodly amounts on and sacrifice their very freedoms to bring about. it's not launch codes, nor blueprints, nor even strategies. simple proof. the only way this becomes a national security issue is if the proof does not exist.
 
  • #9
Proton Soup said:
arguments of "top secret, national security" are silly. it's proof of a task that americans have been asked to spend ungodly amounts on and sacrifice their very freedoms to bring about. it's not launch codes, nor blueprints, nor even strategies. simple proof. the only way this becomes a national security issue is if the proof does not exist.
So you're claiming a conspiracy that Bin Laden wasn't killed?
 
  • #10
"The people have a right to know" is a cudgel usually wielded by the left to damage the west. Apparently some on right are willing to swing it at the president to damage the Left.

They're just errand boys sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill.
 
  • #11
Evo said:
So you're claiming a conspiracy that Bin Laden wasn't killed?

i'm saying they couldn't get their story straight from the beginning. they did a hasty job of body disposal for no good reason. and we had senators retracting their statements that the photos they saw were real. we had an administration saying that he was killed because he didn't surrender, and a 12-yr-old daughter who is still who-knows-where saying he was captured alive, and even this we don't have first-hand.

are you claiming that the facts are solid? i don't see that they are, and i don't appreciate the conspiracy thing either. asking for actual facts is very sciency and not unreasonable.
 
  • #12
Proton Soup said:
and we had senators retracting their statements that the photos they saw were real.
yes, the idiots were referring to the hoaxed internet pictures.

we had an administration saying that he was killed because he didn't surrender, and a 12-yr-old daughter who is still who-knows-where saying he was captured alive, and even this we don't have first-hand.

are you claiming that the facts are solid? i don't see that they are, and i don't appreciate the conspiracy thing either. asking for actual facts is very sciency and not unreasonable.
It doesn't matter. Al-Qaeda confirmed it was Bin-Laden.

Al Qaeda, in Web message, confirms bin Laden's death

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-06/world/bin.laden.qaeda.comment_1_site-intelligence-group-bin-laden-al-qaeda?_s=PM:WORLD

Are you now saying that Al Qaeda is working with the US government in a cover up?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #13
I must say it would have been better to let him writhe on a pike for a day or two like Vlad the Impaler did so effectively against earlier invaders.
But hey, that's just me.

Give up on the conspiracy, the man is dead.
 
  • #14
Evo said:
yes, the idiots were referring to the hoaxed internet pictures.

It doesn't matter. Al-Qaeda confirmed it was Bin-Laden.

Al Qaeda, in Web message, confirms bin Laden's death

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-06/world/bin.laden.qaeda.comment_1_site-intelligence-group-bin-laden-al-qaeda?_s=PM:WORLD

Are you now saying that Al Qaeda is working with the US government in a cover up?

no, and stop trying to put words in my mouth. besides, that headline is inaccurate. unless al qaeda had access to him, they simply accepted his death, they didn't have the means to confirm it.

also, that article says that al qaeda is undeterred, and will continue to fight on as before. so please tell me what you think the national security issue is.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #15
Proton Soup said:
unless al qaeda had access to him, they simply accepted his death, they didn't have the means to confirm it.

This is pretty weak sauce. The US sailors who pushed him overboard can only report, not confirm that he in fact sank as a corpse. For all we know Colonel Ghadaffi's submarine may have picked up the sinking corpse and has been giving it CPR to this day.
 
  • #16
Antiphon said:
This is pretty weak sauce. The US sailors who pushed him overboard can only report, not confirm that he in fact sank as a corpse. For all we know Colonel Ghadaffi's submarine may have picked up the sinking corpse and has been giving it CPR to this day.

you're missing the point. the article is inaccurate, but it is a red herring. she wants to paint me as a conspiracy nut so she can say I'm breaking the rules and delete my objections. but i never said that i think he isn't dead and i think there is reason to doubt the circumstances of his death.
 
  • #17
Proton Soup said:
you're missing the point. the article is inaccurate, but it is a red herring. she wants to paint me as a conspiracy nut so she can say I'm breaking the rules and delete my objections. but i never said that i think he isn't dead and i think there is reason to doubt the circumstances of his death.

Oh, sorry then. I must say I read your remarks the same way as EVO, that you weren't sure it wasn't a hoax perpetrated by the US govt. Whats your position then?
 
  • #18
While I think there exist many things to mistrust this administration on, I don't believe there is some VLWC to cover-up bin Laden's death. The story appears shaky because too many people (not directly involved) tried to inject their own import by making sketchy statements - so it's outside lies which are causing the incredibility of the greater picture, not the core statements from the President, his advisors and the military.

Also, and maybe more importaint, when dealing with a matter of potential national security such as this - what is the potential fallout IF it is discovered that Osama bin Laden is still at large (or was captured alive)? The 'lie of his death', if there is one, becomes justified under the veil of national security. There is zero positive benefit over time to the administration making the story up out of the blue, so something happened to bin Laden in early May. Did he get killed by a SEAL in his Pakistan home? Very likely. If he didn't, it's probably in the US's best interests to keep it a secret anyhow - and I'm OK with that in this instance.

To me, the biggest proof that bin Laden is actually dead: his wives, not being defiant, in custody of Pakistan. If they didn't see him obviously die, then I think we would have heard about it from now because of the animosity caused from the 'American invasion' of their country. (IIRC bin Laden got shot in front of a wife and child?)
 
  • #19
Antiphon said:
Oh, sorry then. I must say I read your remarks the same way as EVO, that you weren't sure it wasn't a hoax perpetrated by the US govt. Whats your position then?

I think Proton has been maintaining that position for a long time now, I believe, mainly because U.S. government did not handle the media part well. IIRC, one day prior to OBL mission it was decided that this will be kept secret but it didn't go well after the incident.

Beyond all the mishap, BBC pointed out that U.S. has monopoly over the information it obtained from the OBL place and it will use it best for its own interests and we might never know the details of this operation.

Going to OP, I strongly wish to have information public but maybe few decades from now. Personally, I believe it would have been in everyone's interest to keep the mission secret for now.
 
Last edited:
  • #20
Like I said before. I don't care if he is dead or not, though I'm sure he is. As long as we don't ever see him again. Either way we made him disappear.
 
  • #21
Antiphon said:
Oh, sorry then. I must say I read your remarks the same way as EVO, that you weren't sure it wasn't a hoax perpetrated by the US govt. Whats your position then?

i thought it was obvious from this thread, but at the very least the forensics may tell us the circumstances of his death. USG had said he was resisting, could have been going for a gun... but photos could possibly tell you the angle of entry of a bullet. and just like we use forensics to discern between murders and suicides, we might get a better idea of whether he was killed in what the seals saw as a battle, or simply assassinated on his knees. if he was captured and then killed, does that indicate a breakdown in the chain of command?
 
  • #22
Proton Soup said:
you're missing the point. the article is inaccurate, but it is a red herring. she wants to paint me as a conspiracy nut so she can say I'm breaking the rules and delete my objections. but i never said that i think he isn't dead and i think there is reason to doubt the circumstances of his death.

Antiphon said:
Oh, sorry then. I must say I read your remarks the same way as EVO, that you weren't sure it wasn't a hoax perpetrated by the US govt. Whats your position then?
Proton, that's utter nonsense, I've never given you an infraction and you know it. (not saying you didn't possibly warrant some). :-p
 
  • #23
Proton Soup said:
arguments of "top secret, national security" are silly. it's proof of a task that americans have been asked to spend ungodly amounts on and sacrifice their very freedoms to bring about. it's not launch codes, nor blueprints, nor even strategies. simple proof. the only way this becomes a national security issue is if the proof does not exist.

Evo said:
So you're claiming a conspiracy that Bin Laden wasn't killed?
I don't agree that he made such a claim. What he said was in support of the argument that this is NOT a national security issue.
 
  • #24
Jimmy Snyder said:
I don't agree that he made such a claim. What he said was in support of the argument that this is NOT a national security issue.
It was a question for him to clarify his meaning, which he did. In retrospect, I should have worded things in my posts differently.

I guess I should be asking if he thinks there is a government cover up, or if withholding sensitive information is the norm.
 
  • #25
Evo said:
Proton, that's utter nonsense, I've never given you an infraction and you know it. (not saying you didn't possibly warrant some). :-p

well, i know I've received some edits, and i suspect some controversial posts initiated thread locks. :shy:

and I've been biting my tongue on what i suspect the security rationale is.

Evo said:
It was a question for him to clarify his meaning, which he did. In retrospect, I should have worded things in my posts differently.

I guess I should be asking if he thinks there is a government cover up, or if withholding sensitive information is the norm.

well, governments often say they're doing one thing (or not doing one thing), while the truth is something else entirely. that's what i think, and what history proves.

http://www.proxsa.org/resources/9-11/Brzezinski-980115-interview.htm
http://www.counterpunch.org/brzezinski.html

and it is probably worth mentioning that obama is a fan of brzezinski. so you've got guys that like to play chess on the world stage. and this involves deceit and manipulation of governments, and by extension, populations. and so it becomes unreasonable to accept explanations at face value.

"cover up"? i don't know. that's an awfully loaded term, too. maybe some guy just got an itchy trigger finger and couldn't control his rage. so he pops the guy. that's not a good narrative for the public, is it? would it be sensitive information in any way other than public relations?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #26
Part of any cover-up (real or not) could be a desire for the US government to provide plausible deniability for the Pakistani government. We are running covert ops over there, and that is NOT popular with a lot of the Pakistani civilians. If the Pakistani intelligence community and/or military were shown to be complicit in the US's raid on OBL, it might be pretty damaging to regional security. Do we want that when we have military and intelligence personnel in harm's way?
 
  • #27
I have thought about this, and in my opinion it would serve the interests of the government to release photos/additional proof that they actually did kill Osama. As said allready, possible brutality of the photos isn't something that should prevent the photos from being released.

Releasing photos/video of the raid and dead Osama would clear at least some of the doubts
 
  • #28
samu.k said:
I have thought about this, and in my opinion it would serve the interests of the government to release photos/additional proof that they actually did kill Osama. As said allready, possible brutality of the photos isn't something that should prevent the photos from being released.

Releasing photos/video of the raid and dead Osama would clear at least some of the doubts

I am against video of the raid, simply because that's a matter of national security... those SEALs are using the best tactics we've come up with to date, and the best weaponry that's out on the field (theoretically anyway)... allowing videos to be seen of those things in action would make the US have to re-do the entire tactic book, and change weapons and such if they are going to keep the element of surprise that they enjoy.

Pics of him dead, maybe, but not videos of the raid itself.
 
  • #29
Ryumast3r said:
I am against video of the raid, simply because that's a matter of national security... those SEALs are using the best tactics we've come up with to date, and the best weaponry that's out on the field (theoretically anyway)... allowing videos to be seen of those things in action would make the US have to re-do the entire tactic book, and change weapons and such if they are going to keep the element of surprise that they enjoy.

Pics of him dead, maybe, but not videos of the raid itself.


Yes sorry for being unclear, I didn't mean photos/videos of the raid itself, but of dead Osama.
 
  • #30
Agreed on that.
 
  • #31
Why do we need pictures of his corpse?

Isn't it good enough to know that he won't be leading any terrorist organization again? Or are you afraid that he is actually still alive?

I don't understand the desire to see photos.
 
  • #32
drankin said:
Why do we need pictures of his corpse?

Isn't it good enough to know that he won't be leading any terrorist organization again? Or are you afraid that he is actually still alive?

I don't understand the desire to see photos.

I have no personal desire to see the corpse. I believe he's dead. I believe that's good enough. However, there are some people out there (read: a lot) that would like the extra assurance. This would be for them, not me.
 
  • #33
Antiphon said:
This is pretty weak sauce. The US sailors who pushed him overboard can only report, not confirm that he in fact sank as a corpse. For all we know Colonel Ghadaffi's submarine may have picked up the sinking corpse and has been giving it CPR to this day.

We can only hope you are correct - IMO.
 
  • #34
samu.k said:
I have thought about this, and in my opinion it would serve the interests of the government to release photos/additional proof that they actually did kill Osama.

What interests of the government would be served, and how? Please be specific.
 

Related to Watchdog seeks bin Laden photo, says White House 'not above the law'

1. What is the purpose of the watchdog seeking the bin Laden photo?

The watchdog is seeking the bin Laden photo in order to hold the White House accountable and ensure that they are following the law.

2. Why is the White House refusing to release the photo?

The White House has stated that releasing the photo could potentially incite violence and endanger national security.

3. Is the White House legally required to release the photo?

There is no specific law that requires the White House to release the photo, but the watchdog argues that the Freedom of Information Act gives them the right to request it.

4. Has the White House released any other evidence of bin Laden's death?

Yes, the White House released a statement and provided a written description of the operation that led to bin Laden's death.

5. What is the role of the watchdog in this situation?

The watchdog's role is to ensure that the government is transparent and accountable to the public, and to hold them to the standards of the law.

Similar threads

  • General Discussion
11
Replies
384
Views
39K
  • General Discussion
Replies
3
Views
3K
  • Poll
  • General Discussion
Replies
13
Views
4K
  • General Discussion
Replies
31
Views
5K
  • General Discussion
2
Replies
65
Views
8K
  • Computing and Technology
Replies
2
Views
2K
Back
Top