Justice Dept. asks judge to block abuse photos

May 28, 2009 1:36:07 PM PDT
The Obama administration asked a federal court Thursday to cancel its decision ordering the release of disturbing images of detainee abuse. The motion was filed with a federal appeals court in New York. The court papers cite two partially secret statements from top U.S. generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno.

The administration had planned to release the photos until President Barack Obama reversed the decision this month, saying their release would endanger U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Releasing the photos poses "a clear and grave risk of inciting violence and riots against American and coalition forces, as well as civilian personnel, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," according to the motion filed with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court.

The photos were ordered released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Bush administration had fought their release, and lost.

ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said the new filing by the Obama administration "has no new arguments" and will be opposed.

The court ruled in September 2008 that general concerns about public safety were not specific enough to merit blocking the release of the photos.

The motion filed Thursday also notes the government plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Congress is also considering stepping in to block the photos' release.

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