(WASHINGTON) — Immediately after Osama bin Laden’s death last year, there’s was an outcry from some quarters to release the gruesome photos of the slain al Qaeda leader in an effort to prove to the world that he was really dead.
The White House, with bipartisan backing, refused to do so, arguing that images of bin Laden, who had been shot in the face and chest by Navy SEALs, would only inflame his followers and possibly put Americans in danger at home and abroad.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg refused a request by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch to release the photos, upholding administration concerns about inciting al Qaeda as well as compromising classified intelligence about the Special Forces operations that resulted in bin Laden’s assassination.
Boasberg, who was appointed to the bench by President Obama, wrote, “A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more.”
Judicial Watch sought the photos under the Freedom of Information Act. It filed an appeal following the judge’s ruling on Thursday.
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