May 13th, 2009
03:41 PM ET

Obama orders stop to detainee photo releases

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the order on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/12/prisoner.photos/art.abu.ghraib.bunks.gi.jpg caption="The Iraqi Ministry of Justice gave journalists an inside look at the prison formerly known as Abu Ghraib."]

Ed Hornick

President Obama has ordered government lawyers to object to the planned release of additional detainee photos, the White House said Wednesday.

The Defense Department was set to release hundreds of photographs showing alleged abuse of prisoners in detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The president was concerned about harm to the troops," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday afternoon. "The president, as you all know, met with his legal team last week because he did not feel comfortable with the release of the photos."

Gibbs added, "the president reflected on this case and believes that they have the potential to pose harm to the troops. ... Nothing is added by the release of the photos."

The release was ordered in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. It followed Obama's decision to release Bush-era CIA documents showing that the United States used techniques like waterboarding, considered torture by the current administration.

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Filed under: President Barack Obama • Torture
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. David in Japan

    I agree with President Obama, now is not the time to be putting these horrible pictures out in the public, and just adding more fuel to the flames of hate against America, against our U.S. troops in Iraq and Afaganistan etc..THE ACLU in this case, should be censored. We are at WAR, Alqaeda, the Taliban etc..want to kill us and the ACLU has nothing better to do than bring out prisoners being tortured by a few idiots in uniform? Of course this is shameful and illegal, but now is not the time. Some one should lob a couple of shoes at these fools working at the ACLU and knock some common sense into their thick skulls!

    May 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  2. Tim Gibson

    It is all about the back step, a tradition long held in the arena of politics and one that has taken on some very fancy footwork with the Change that has come to America.

    The damage that some may say would be done by release of photos for documentation of the Bush era of torture is done. A flag has risen to show the word that proof does in fact exist, yet it is proof that should not been seen by innocent life and innocent death.

    Why has Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi a prisoner who was horribly tortured in 2002 until he agreed – at the demand of Bush torturers – to say that al-Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein for Bush’s marketing of the pending war of aggression against Iraq suddenly been found dead.

    Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are now running around saying that the torture regime “protected the country from terrorist attack.” But the torture was used for the personal political goals of Bush and Cheney: namely, to sell their Iraq invasion to a very skeptical and disbelieving country.

    Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and tens of thousands of U.S. service members have either been killed or badly wounded in a war that was based on lies fortified and promoted by the most sadistic torture. A fact know by the world.

    “Who was the beneficiary” from the death of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi? Why was he spirited away by the Bush administration to hidden foreign prisons after he recanted his tortured testimony and revealed that he was forced to make false statements about Iraq under torture?

    May 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  3. Brian, Willingboro, NJ

    It's funny to see Obama make many of the same decisions as President Bush on security and itelligence issues. But, why is anyone questioning the ACLU's motives. Why is the ACLU so determined to get photos, memos and reports that would damage US security interests? Hmmmmmmm

    May 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Cindy

    It's about time he did something right. Like he said what good will more photos do? It just adds fuel to the fire for the terrorists.

    I am against torturing anyone but continually dragging this up isn't helping anyone. There is a thing called moving on! What's done is done, you can't change it. Things have been changed so it won't happen again so why does the media keep harping on it?


    May 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |