A three-judge panel has denied requests to release the photos and videos taken on the night Osama Bin Laden was killed. The District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals sided with the Obama Administration against a conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, that had been attempting to get the photos released.
The administration argued – and the court agreed – that the photos and video footage from that night should remain classified in the interests of the safety of Americans abroad. The administration expressed concern that if the photos became public, it would spark riots and other anti-American violence in certain parts of the world. The ruling, which was unanimous, held that the government’s reasons for classifying the photos Top Secret – and thus exempt from the Freedom of Information Act – were justified.
The raid that killed Bin Laden, for whom U.S. authorities had been searching for over ten years, was conducted by U.S. Navy SEALs in May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The SEALs took several photos and video of the raid and its aftermath, including photos of Bin Laden’s body, partly so that the CIA could use facial recognition technology to confirm Bin Laden’s death.