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May 13th, 2009
02:53 PM ET

ACLU: 'Decision betrays commitment to transparency'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/12/prisoner.photos/art.abu.ghraib.afp.gi.jpg caption="Abu Ghraib reopened this year under control of the Iraqi Ministry of Justice."]

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director, ACLU

The Obama administration announced today that it is reversing its promise to make public photos depicting detainee abuse by U.S. personnel overseas. The Department of Defense had told a federal judge that it would release a "substantial number" of photos in response to a court ruling in an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

"The Obama administration's adoption of the stonewalling tactics and opaque policies of the Bush administration flies in the face of the president's stated desire to restore the rule of law, to revive our moral standing in the world and to lead a transparent government. This decision is particularly disturbing given the Justice Department's failure to initiate a criminal investigation of torture crimes under the Bush administration.

"It is true that these photos would be disturbing; the day we are no longer disturbed by such repugnant acts would be a sad one. In America, every fact and document gets known – whether now or years from now. And when these photos do see the light of day, the outrage will focus not only on the commission of torture by the Bush administration but on the Obama administration's complicity in covering them up. Any outrage related to these photos should be due not to their release but to the very crimes depicted in them. Only by looking squarely in the mirror, acknowledging the crimes of the past and achieving accountability can we move forward and ensure that these atrocities are not repeated.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • President Barack Obama • Torture
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Cindy

    Come on people..did you honestly think Obama would be totally transparent over every little thing? He's already shown that he isn't and will probably not be in the future.

    Cindy..Ga.

    May 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm |