Obama Promises Lieberman and Graham to Block Torture Photos

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Whether it’s by congressional act, high court ruling, or presidential order, President Barack Obama is determined to keep hidden a set of controversial photos depicting detainees being abused by the American military. President Obama reportedly sent a letter on July 29 to Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that he would support legislation that blocks the release of any photographs and videos depicting U.S. soldiers mistreating detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan captured after 9/11. Obama’s promise was referenced in a footnote (#8, p. 20-21 in PDF) that’s part of an appeal filed by the Department of Defense asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that approved the photos released to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Senate has passed legislation barring the publication of the photos, but it is uncertain whether the House will go along with the plan. If Congress does not pass the bill, and if the Supreme Court does not reverse the earlier decision, President Obama may issue an executive order classifying the photos as national security documents to keep them locked away. This last resort was supposedly promised to Graham by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who assured the senator the photos would never see the light of day, according to Graham.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
United States Department of Defense v. American Civil Liberties Union (U.S. Supreme Court) (footnote #8, PDF pages 20-21)


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