The U.S. Military Ordered Bin Laden Photos Destroyed 10 Days After Freedom of Information Act Request

I’ve highlighted the bizarre opacity and intentional official obfuscation regarding the details of the Osama bin Laden raid on many occasions. My most recent post on the topic was published last summer with the article: U.S. Government’s Secret Move to Hide Files on the Osama Bin Laden Raid. I started out that post writing:

The Osama Bin Laden raid was suspect from the very beginning.  Not only were key initial descriptions of the assault completely incorrect (such as him being armed and his wife being killed), but the manner in which his body was rapidly tossed into the ocean was beyond bizarre.  I mean, Tony Soprano keeps a body longer than that.

I also pointed out what the AP had to say on the matter:

In the days after bin Laden’s death, the White House provided conflicting versions of events, falsely saying bin Laden was armed and even firing at the SEALs, misidentifying which of bin Laden’s sons was killed and incorrectly saying bin Laden’s wife died in the shootout. Obama’s press secretary attributed the errors to the “fog of combat.”

Well an already strange story has gotten even stranger. We now know, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, that the U.S. military ordered the destruction of all the bin Laden photos as soon as it got wind that the media had requested them. 

Repeat after me: Most. Transparent. Ever.

From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A newly-released email shows that 11 days after the killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, the U.S. military’s top special operations officer ordered subordinates to destroy any photographs of the al-Qaida founder’s corpse or turn them over to the CIA.

The email was obtained under a freedom of information request by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. The document, released Monday by the group, shows that Adm. William McRaven, who heads the U.S. Special Operations Command, told military officers on May 13, 2011 that photos of bin Laden’s remains should have been sent to the CIA or already destroyed. Bin Laden was killed by a special operations team in Pakistan on May 2, 2011.

McRaven’s order to purge the bin Laden material came 10 days after The Associated Press asked for the photos and other documents under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Typically, when a freedom of information request is filed to a government agency under the Federal Records Act, the agency is obliged to preserve the material sought — even if the agency later denies the request. 

Rule of law anyone?

In a heavily blacked-out email addressed to “gentlemen,” McRaven told his unnamed subordinates: “One particular item that I want to emphasize is photos; particularly UBLs remains. At this point – all photos should have been turned over to the CIA; if you still have them destroy them immediately or get them” a blacked-out location. UBL refers to bin Laden.

In a Jan. 31, 2014 letter to Judicial Watch in response to its request for all records relating to McRaven’s “directive to purge,” the Pentagon’s office of general counsel said it had been able to locate only document — Raven’s redacted email.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said Monday that the email “is a smoking gun, revealing both contempt for the rule of law and the American people’s right to know.”

Just another smoking gun of government criminality. How many do we need?

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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