Court to Decide
They have been classified since the May 2011 raid that killed him, but now the autopsy and burial photos of Osama bin Laden may be available for public viewing. A federal appeals court on Thursday heard arguments on whether the public has that right.
The court will consider a lawsuit filed by a conservative-leaning watchdog group, Judicial Watch, that is seeking the release of the 52 photos that were taken following the raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
A lower court has already upheld the government's position, which is that the photos must be kept secret in the interest of national security. Some defense and intelligence officials think their release could spark violence against Americans.
In the wake of the raid, President Obama explained, on "60 Minutes," his decision to withhold the photos:
“It’s important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool,” he said. “That’s not who we are. We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies.”