- (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)
Some federal appeals court judges are hesitant of releasing pictures of a dead Osama Bin Laden in the wake of several requests for their release.
Conservative oversight group Judicial Watch is requesting the pictures be made public through the Freedom of Information Act.
Both the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency have been sent notifications regarding the photographs' release, but so far, only the CIA has stated that they had received any such request. The request was denied due to the exemptions for classified documents and exemptions provided by other laws.
Michael Bekesha, a lawyer for Judicial Watch, argued during court proceedings on Thursday that the government failed to provide a clear enough basis for denying the photos being released.
"President Obama is asking the courts to rewrite (the Freedom of Information Act) to allow his administration to withhold documents simply because their disclosure may cause controversy," Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch President, said in a statement.
However, Judge Merrick Garland, stated that the government's reasoning – that the photos could be used to by al-Qaeda for propaganda while encouraging anti-American actions – was indeed an appropriate denial for the request.
There has not been any word regarding the supposed timeline on when a ruling is to be expected regarding the photographs in question by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
There has been a loud debate raging over whether or not the American public has a right to see the photos or if the security risks are too great for such an action. The White House's position seems to coincide with the latter, and in previous statements has stated that it is not in the best interest to release the pictures.
"It is not in our national security interest ... to allow these images to become icons to rally opinion against the United States," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a previous statement.