FOI and the Bin Laden photos

Given the apparent refusal by the US government to release the photographs of Bin Laden’s body, one obvious route to obtain them may be through the  Freedom of Information Act.

The nature of the pictures and circumstances around there non-release raise all sorts of interesting legal problems. This article by Dan Metcalfe, former Director of Information at the US Department of Justice, looks at what may happen if the FOI route is tried. It raises an interesting possibility that release by a legal ruling may well suit the administration.

‘ I found this in the work I did over the years, that when the information at hand is of such sensitivity that  another country or group would react to its official disclosure, it can be better if it is seen to be ordered by a court rather than undertaken unilaterally by the head of the nation.

In short, by deciding to go with even a meritless legal defence, the Obama Administration would gain the advantage of being able to say, “We tried, but our legal system is what it is” — and that would be that’.

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